Standoff ends with man's arrest on carjacking, weapons charges

Becky Campbell • Updated Feb 2, 2018 at 9:04 PM

Dozens of law enforcement officers ended a nearly three-hour standoff with a man accused of a recent carjacking by deploying chemical grenades into the residence where he was hiding.

Johnson City police, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers were at McKinley Mobile Home Park in a showdown with 30-year-old Cory M. Cox. Officers arrived shortly after 1:15 p.m. after receiving an anonymous tip he was there.

Johnson City Police Maj. Debbie Botelho confirmed that Cox was inside the trailer, as three other people left the residence saying Cox was inside. The JCPD’s hostage negotiator talked to Cox in hopes of getting him to come out of the trailer, but he never responded to her.

Five to six other trailers were evacuated as the standoff unfolded.

Officer Lorrie Goff, the police negotiator, used a public address speaker as she repeatedly ordered Cox to exit the residence.

“Come to the front door and do what the officer says. Do it now,” Goff ordered. “It’s not fair to your friends and family. I have talked to them,” and they’re worried. “It’s cold … we aren’t going anywhere.”

After the standoff was over, Police Chief Mark Sirois said Cox never communicated with police during the incident.

Eventually officers fired several chemical grenades into the mobile home to flush Cox out. It worked, but he didn’t leave by the front door. Officers at the rear of the mobile home took Cox into custody after he appeared from under a back porch.

He was arrested without incident, Sirois said.

Sheriff Ed Graybeal praised JCPD and they cooperative effort between the two department’s officers in resolving the standoff. He said the community was safer with Cox in custody.

Cox was believed to be armed during the standoff, but Graybeal said no weapon was immediately recovered. The investigation was ongoing, he said.

On Thursday, Graybeal issued a news release saying deputies were searching for Cox who was wanted in a Jan. 25 carjacking that began with an attempted traffic stop on West Walnut Street.

Cox, 30, whose last known address was 2223 Signal Drive, was considered armed and dangerous.

The sheriff said deputies tried to stop a Chevrolet Impala on West Walnut Street near State of Franklin Road for a minor traffic infraction. The vehicle turned right, and the driver eventually pulled over in the turn lane near the shopping center at 1735 W. State of Franklin Road.

As a deputy approached the car, a woman opened the driver’s side door and stepped partially out of the vehicle. Before she could get all the way out, the news release said, Cox moved from the rear seat to the driver’s seat and accelerated away, spinning the woman into the road.

Deputies stopped to help her while others tried to stop Cox. The woman told investigators Cox had forced her out of the vehicle using a small handgun.

Cox drove recklessly down State of Franklin, Graybeal said, and deputies stopped the chase for safety concerns. Johnson City police saw Cox get onto Interstate 26 heading toward Kingsport, but did not pursue the car.

According to Chief Deputy Leighta Laitinen, the man and woman are acquainted, and the woman is the owner of the Impala. She added that the woman picked up the man along Old Jonesborough Road prior to the traffic stop.

Kingsport police found the Impala at 152 Gravely Road in Kingsport on Monday. Washington County deputies also found a black BMW that had been driven by Cox in the Windy Hill Road area of Washington County that same day.

After the standoff, Cox was was charged with carjacking, felony reckless endangerment, reckless driving, felony evading arrest, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Tennessee’s Felony Offender Information website lists Cox with inactive status on a sentence that ended April 16.

Laitinen said the Tennessee Highway Patrol also had pending charges against Cox.

He was booked into the Washington County Detention Center on an $80,000 bond. He will likely be arraigned in Washington County General Sessions Court Monday afternoon.

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