A Johnson City man who apparently thought he had outstanding criminal charges climbed onto a building roof after he was stopped for speeding and held police at bay nearly three hours.
Tommy Garland, 39, finally climbed down off the two-story part of the roof of the Emergency Management Agency building on East Maple Street, then jumped off the single level flat roof after police broke through a window leading onto that section.
JCPD Capt. Debbie Botelho said Garland injured his ankle when he jumped “a very short distance.”
He was transported by ambulance to the Johnson City Medical Center for treatment.
During the standoff, Garland told police he wanted to talk to his wife, so officers went to get her, Botelho said. It still took more than two hours to get Garland to come down even after several family members arrived and talked to him.
“He never threatened to jump. He just refused to come down,” Botelho said.
More than a dozen police officers, two fire truck crews and several EMS personnel stood by as a police crisis negotiator tried to talk Garland down. Several times Garland could be heard saying he didn’t want to go to jail, and it’s unclear if he was ever convinced there were no charges pending.
Botelho said it all started around 9 a.m. with an attempted traffic stop for speeding on Interstate 26. Garland, who was driving the car, exited onto Main Street, then pulled over, got out and ran. Garland ran in the direction of the EMA building, climbed a fence and then got onto the roof.
“He was very upset. He thought if he came down he was going to jail,” Botelho said.
That’s still a possibility. Botelho said there are potential “future charges” against Garland.