Former UGA player instrumental in Hood surrender

6:30 PM, Mar 26, 2011   |    comments
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ATHENS, Ga. -- It took a team of highly trained law enforcement officers at the local, state and federal level to coax Jamie Hood out of the Athens home where he holed up with nine people for hours. But it also took a man who did not don the uniform to get him to come out alive.

Bryant Gantt is an imposing figure, a former linebacker for the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the late '80s. But Friday night he was instrumental in getting 33-year-old Jamie Hood to leave the home where he was barricaded.

"He was scared of the whole situation," Gantt told 11Alive's Jerry Carnes. "He was ready to get it over with. He was tired. He was worn out."

He knew Hood by name, but not well. They had said hello to each other in the store many times before. Gantt also new Buddy Christian and Tony Howard.

On Wednesday Gantt posted on his Facebook wall, saying if Hood needed help to get out alive, he would be glad to. On Friday, a young woman messaged him asking him for his help. Gantt approached GBI and FBI agents and soon was locked in hours long negotiations with the man whose pictures was plastered on TVs all over the state.

Gantt would not say what he and Hood discussed, but said the man on the other end of the cell phone was shaken, and seemed to be "up and down". 

Earlier in the day 11Alive's Jerry Carnes was with Hood's mother Azalee when she took a phone call from her son saying he was ready to turn himself in if his safety would be guaranteed. She told Carnes that he wanted a camera there because he was worried he would be killed. That was nearly nine hours before Hood would surrender.

Less than an hour before the 11 p.m. news, the GBI contacted 11Alive news saying Hood requested his surrender to be televised live, and requested the station provide a pooled feed to other stations. 

Just after 11:15 p.m., Hood emerged with the remaining five people in the home. Forced to the ground, he was handcuffed and taken into custody. One of the first people to meet him as he walked out was Bryant Gantt, wearing a UGA football tracksuit. Gantt stayed with him as he was handcuffed, frisked, and questioned.

It ended what had been a dramatic four days, marked with confusion, constant manhunts, roadblocks, searches, and shifting scenes. 

Gantt now works as a program coordinator at the University's Athletic Department and has worked as a recruiting assistant for the football program. 

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