Arkansas Trooper Wounded in Gun Battle, Standoff Ensues
ALREAD, Ark. (AP) -- Two men wanted for questioning in a couple's disappearance shot and wounded a state trooper Monday before holing up in a small Ozark Mountain hut that lacks telephone service and electricity.
State police and agents from the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives surrounded the remote cabin.
"We really need to talk to these guys," Sgt. Pete Westerman said. "We need to keep someone else from getting hurt."
Police had been watching the property of two men, Mark Holsombach, 49, and William J. Frazier, 28, whom investigators wanted to speak to about the recent disappearance of Theodore R. Throneberry, 46, and his wife Ann Ryberg Throneberry, 45.
Throneberry was last seen in February when he left a pipefitting job in Illinois and headed for home. His wife has been missing since March 1. Police suspect foul play in their disappearance.
Police said Holsombach and Frazier had been seen earlier standing in Mrs. Throneberry's front yard and were the last two people seen with the woman before she disappeared.
The group of between 10 and 15 officers went to the hut, which down a dirt road and surrounded by woods, early Monday morning to serve a set of warrants -- one a bench warrant for Holsombach for possession of firearms, a Florida arrest warrant that included a theft charge against Frazier, and a search warrant for the hut.
During a gun battle at dawn, Trooper Charlie Edmonson was shot in the left arm by rifle fire, Westerman said. The bullet ricocheted off Edmonson's bullet-proof vest and struck his arm. He also chipped a tooth and had to see a dentist. Edmonson was treated and released from a Little Rock hospital.
Westerman said police believe the men have many weapons, but weren't sure of how many or what kind. He also said there's no way to know how many supplies the two have or how long they can remain in the hut.
Troopers were still hopeful to talk to the men. An armored vehicle was brought to the property in an effort to let troopers approach the home.
Authorities also said Holsombach has 12 felony convictions scattered across the country. When asked what type of convictions Holsombach had, Westerman said, "You name it. He's nearly been in trouble since Day One."
In nearby Alread School District, officials let parents pick up their children and about half of the district's 85 students went home early. Superintendent James Floyd said the school was safe but that the helicopters and police cars were a distraction.
Alread resident James McGaha said Holsombach and Frazier had lived in the community about three or four years. Police said the pair go by several different names.
"Nobody knew them," McGaha said. "We just know they have no water and no electricity."
Carmalee Pock, 37, of Alread and her friend Savanah Scarberry, 19, also of Alread, said the home was just about 100 square feet and was made of wood that the men had gathered.
"I couldn't believe someone would live in a house like that," Scarberry said.
Pock said she was friends with Mrs. Throneberry and that the two would visit while their husbands were away on jobs. Pock described the couple as nice people who didn't bother anyone.
Alread is a tiny community 20 miles west of Clinton and about 65 miles north of Little Rock.