published Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Alabama man killed in exchange of gunfire

A Section, Ala., man was found dead inside his home Tuesday after a standoff and an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers who were trying to tear-gas him out of the residence.

Jeremy Daniel Gregory, 31, of County Road 48 in Section, was killed after he traded gunfire with Madison County Sheriff's Office SWAT team members around 7 a.m. CST Tuesday. The Madison County group was called to the scene after Jackson County deputies responded to a shots-fired call at the same address, officials said.

When Jackson County deputies got to the house just before midnight, Gregory darted back inside to get a gun and fired shots in the direction of the deputies, Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips said Tuesday afternoon. The deputies called for back-up from fellow officers who worked with them to try to coax Gregory out, talking to him with a public address system over the next several hours.

But when that didn't succeed, Jackson County authorities asked for help from Madison County's SWAT team, the sheriff said.

"Just before daylight this morning they put some [tear] gas in the house hoping to make him come out," Phillips said.

But rather than come out, the sheriff said, Gregory started shooting, and the Madison County officers returned fire.

When the officers finally made their way inside, they found Gregory dead from the gunfire, Phillips said. No one else was inside.

Investigators recovered a high-powered rifle and a handgun and are trying to piece together what led to the deadly encounter, he said.

Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen said Gregory had no history with local authorities.

Harnen said investigators don't know what had happened to Gregory to make him so upset.

Harnen said the first call about reckless driving apparently related to Gregory reportedly having spun his car around in some nearby yards.

"He had obviously had a bad night," he said.

Phillips said Gregory's body has been sent to Huntsville, Ala., for an autopsy to determine whether he was killed by a bullet fired by law enforcement, as suspected, or himself.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation will lead the investigation since officers exchanged gunfire with Gregory, the sheriff said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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