COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Police have arrested a driver who held police in a standoff on southbound I-75 for nearly two hours Friday.
The suspect was believed to be armed and refused to get out of the car on I-75 SB just north of SunTrust Park, according to Marietta Police.
"The driver remained non-compliant right to the end," said Officer Chuck McPhilamy with Marietta Police. "He didn't actively resist but he refused to take off his seatbelt, he refused to exit the vehicle without us lifting him out of the vehicle. He was passively resisting till the end."
Marietta Police said the driver is suspected in an armed robbery that occurred in the Walmart at 210 Cobb Parkway in Marietta.
Security cameras at the Walmart recorded the armed robbery, at the customer service desk, according to police. McPhilamy said police then had a clear description of the suspect and his getaway car. A Marietta Police officer quickly spotted the suspected car and driver on I-75 southbound at Windy Hill, and pulled over the driver.
Because police thought the driver may have had a gun, they took defensive action before approaching the driver. "We don't want to put the officers in the direct line of fire. We stopped [our] vehicles behind the suspect car and opened [police] car doors as part of a way to conceal or protect [from gunfire]," McPhilamy said. "We gave verbal instructions to exit the vehicle. And in most cases, that works."
The driver of the car did not respond to calls to exit the vehicle and, as a precaution, to keep people out of the way of possible gunfire, police blocked traffic in all southbound lanes of I75.
"You have the interstate flowing, neighboring businesses ... the last thing we want to do is for anyone to get hurt," McPhilamy said. "From an officer's perspective, we have someone who is refusing to communicate. It's a tense situation with multiple people with guns drawn."
Police moved an armored vehicle in front of the suspect's car, and used a drone to look inside the car. Then SWAT moved in and arrested the driver. Even then, McPhilamy said, the driver did not cooperate. Police unbuckled his seat belt and had to carry him away. EMTs arrived to take the man to a hospital for a full medical evaluation before being booked into the Cobb County jail.
McPhilamy praised the work of GSP, Marietta Police and Cobb County for resolving the standoff without gunfire.