published Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Man shot by deputies expected to recover

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    Michael Swinney, 62, faces six charges of attempted first degree murder after he fired upon Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Highway 58 volunteer firefighters Monday night.

A man shot Monday evening after opening fire on Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and volunteer firefighters is expected to survive, authorities say.

Michael Swinney, 62, who was shot once in the face and once in the arm, is expected to recover, although he may lose an eye, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said Tuesday.

When Swinney is discharged from the hospital, he will face six counts of attempted first-degree murder after he reportedly fired upon three deputies and three firefighters trying to put out a vehicle fire on Barn Road off Highway 58. The deputies and firefighters were not hit, but the deputies returned fire on Swinney, Hammond said.

This is not Swinney’s first encounter with law enforcement. In April, he was charged with reckless endangerment involving a firearm near his residence. According to court records, the charge would have been dismissed upon good behavior after he was ordered to participate in a series of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

“You’re going to see some serious repercussions in terms of this gentleman. I doubt that he will be returning to his neighborhood anytime soon,” Hammond said. “Of course, that’s going to depend on the courts, the bond and the psychological reports and medical reports. I don’t think he’s going to be home anytime soon.”

One bystander received minor injuries running away from the scene, Hammond said. Nearby residents also were evacuated from their homes.

According to an April 2 incident report, Swinney was arrested for reckless endangerment after he took an AK-47, a .357-caliber Magnum pistol and another unknown firearm on an ATV and went into a wooded area after some youths.

Swinney was in the process of a break-up with a girlfriend and had taken prescription drugs and alcohol, claiming he had nothing to live for, the report said.

Deputies also responded to Swinney’s residence on May 21 after he was found unresponsive with various pill containers nearby, a report said. His son told investigators that Swinney had been “down on his luck lately and this was either a suicide attempt or cry for help,” according to the report.

It’s unclear what provoked the shooting Monday, and investigators did not release a motive.

Hammond declined to identify the deputies involved, but said all three will be placed on seven days administrative leave while the shooting is investigated internally, which is standard procedure for deputy-involved shootings.

He said deputies acted quickly, taking Swinney down before the situation escalated.

“We’re always happy when these things resolve themselves very quickly and none of our officers are injured, or innocent bystanders,” Hammond said.

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