Gunman holds Vicksburg police at bay for 3 hours … click for story

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 3, 2009

A man believed to be distraught at least partly by his recent experiences as a soldier in Iraq held Vicksburg police at bay for three hours Wednesday, holding a gun to his head and threatening to kill himself.

Scroll down to view press conference

Torrance Burnett, 23, a Vicksburg native and Army veteran, stood near the south wall of the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library as Vicksburg, Jackson and state police and family members attempted to press him into putting down the gun.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong said Burnett had just been convicted in Vicksburg Municipal Court, in the Vicksburg Police Department, on a second charge of domestic abuse.

After his sentencing, Armstrong said, Burnett retrieved a gun from a car in the parking lot and ran one block west to the library area behind Central Fire Station.

A policeman chased Burnett and tackled him, but Burnett got away and held the gun to his head.

Police sealed off the area bounded by Walnut, Washington, Veto and Depot streets, halting all traffic and business. Ten to 15 people in the library were kept there for their safety, Armstrong said.

Burnett’s mother, aunt and other relatives and friends arrived and spoke with him by cell phone, but no progress was made until negotiators from the Jackson Police Department were brought in to talk with Burnett.

Armstrong said Burnett talked about distressing experiences in Iraq, where he had served until May 2008.

The standoff ended around 12:35 p.m. when negotiators got Burnett to turn over his weapon. He was taken to the police station and then to the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Veterans Administration Medical Center  in Jackson, Armstrong said.

“We did it,” said the chief, “and no one got hurt.”

Read more in Thursday’s Vicksburg Post