Video: Deputy uses cans of beans to end armed standoff
A standoff with a hammer-wielding man ended after Maj. Jimmy Stanford snuck behind the suspect in a grocery aisle and hit him in the back with two cans of beans
By Mike Cazalas
The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.
YOUNGSTOWN, Fla. — Thursday's standoff between Sheriff Tommy Ford, Deputy Chief Joel Heape and Maj. Jimmy Stanford and a hammer-wielding man — which began with a call of a gunman and one person down — ended after Stanford snuck behind the suspect in a grocery aisle and hit him in the back with two cans of beans, authorities said Friday.
"I saw Jimmy poke his head out, the next thing I know he steps out with a can of Bush's extra brown sugar baked beans and hits the suspect in the upper body and distracts him," Ford said. "And then he does it again and the suspect ... Joel was able to deflect his swing and lock his arm up. It was a fight, we were wrestling."
Justin Tyler Stanford, 25, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on an officer, resisting arrest with violence, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident with damage, and was set for a bond hearing today. He was taken to the hospital after he was in custody for treatment of injuries in received in a wreck before he showed up at the Rainbow Food Store, 11798 U.S. 231, which is where the 911 calls began pouring in from.
The law enforcement trio was on the way to lunch at Coram's near County 2301 when calls began coming in, including some that said the man was armed, had fired at least one shot, and that someone had been shot. The sheriff was driving and they continued north and were the first law enforcement officers to arrive. At that time they were expecting a man armed with a gun, so Ford and Heape put on vests and grabbed their rifles while Stanford tried to establish phone communications with the man inside.
But before he could, he said, the suspect came outside holding the hammer as if it was a gun, pointing it at them, then retreated back inside the store with all three deputies following. Ford and Heape, with rifles and vests.
Heape said the man "came toward me and takes a swing at me with the hammer and I blocked the swing and hit him with the butt of the gun and that knocked him back into a tray of lotion or something, it went everywhere," Heape said.
At that point the man retreated with Heape and Ford following him down an aisle, the sheriff trying to "get him calmed down," Heape said.
"Then he just suddenly went crazy again and when he raised the hammer, Jimmy went on his bean attack," Heape said.
At that point Stanford, with all three still under the belief the man had a gun somewhere and that someone had been shot, ran parallel down an adjacent aisle, "My thinking is he'll back into me and maybe I can grab him," Stanford said. "For whatever reason he turned when he got real close and sees me and my element of surprise is now gone, so there we are, the three of us."
Stanford said he initially retreated a few steps before grabbing a 16 ounce can of baked beans from the shelf at the end of the aisle and making a decision.
"My thoughts were I could take these and hit him with them and they're not going to kill him, a less lethal alternative," Stanford said. "And it should get his attention diverted away from the sheriff and the chief and they could apprehend him."
In video obtained by The News Herald, Stanford is seen throwing the cans with the suspect ducking down when hit. After the second blow, the suspect cringed lower.
"After Jimmy had hit him a couple of times, he turns and looks at Jimmy, and turns and looks at the sheriff and I, and charges," Heape said. "I reached up and caught his arm swinging the hammer at me, he was slow. And then the sheriff was on him."
With the suspect in jail and upon reflection, Ford said he might have the answer to why everything worked out so well Thursday.
"It's a can-do attitude," he said.
©2018 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)