Ex-sniper accused of firing at Ala. police

By Guy Busby
The Press Register

LOXLEY, Ala. A man described as a former Marine sniper fired at two police officers answering a call to his home Sunday, starting a standoff that lasted almost four hours, authorities said.

Edward Eugene Lichty, 41, was being held for observation at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center on Sunday, said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack Jr. Lichty is accused of firing on two Loxley officers with a rifle when the two responded to a call at his home on Loxley Woods Lane, Mack said.

No one was injured in the incident, the sheriff said. Mack said he asked that Lichty be checked at the Foley hospital for dehydration and drug use after the suspect was found hiding in nearby woods.

The sheriff said the suspect will be charged with two counts of attempted murder when he is released from the hospital today.

Mack said a man, now believed to be Lichty, called Baldwin 911 at about 7:30 a.m. to report finding a body in the woods on Loxley Woods Lane. The call was in county jurisdiction, but two Loxley officers were closer and responded to the report.

"As they got out of the vehicle, a shot rang out, followed by another one, both hitting the vehicle," Mack said. "The Loxley officers called for backup and our deputies responded immediately."

No officers fired their weapons during the standoff, Mack said.

Between 25 and 30 officers from the Sheriff's Office, Loxley, Robertsdale, Elberta, Summerdale and the Alabama Department of Public Safety responded to the call. A state helicopter was also called out to search the woods.

Mack said that at about 11:30 a.m., Lichty called out and surrendered to officers who found him near the trailer. The suspect was dressed in camouflage and had water and other supplies with him.

Police recovered two rifles, a .30-06 believed to have been used to shoot at the officers and a smaller-caliber weapon, Mack said. He said officers are also checking a report that Lichty was a former military marksman.

"We were told that he is a former Marine who was a sniper in the Marine Corps, but we have no way of checking that today since it's Sunday and we can't check with the military until tomorrow," Mack said.

The sheriff said the body reported in the initial call was not found and police believe the call was a hoax.

"What led up to this we don't know at this time," Mack said. "We don't know whether this was a lure to get the officers out there."

Resident Frank Ard said he noticed police officers searching the area Sunday morning. "I heard a man down the road had apparently shot at two police officers and they were looking for him," Ard said. "We were all concerned for our safety. We didn't know where he was at."

The property, which was surrounded by a tall chain-link fence and gates posted with a no trespassing sign, was near the end of the dead-end road.

Mack said Lichty had lived on the property about two months. He said he was not aware of any reports of previous problems at the site.

Copyright 2007 The Press-Register

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