Standoff in Louisa County Ends Peacefully

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari

August 23, 2006

A man allegedly barricaded himself in a trailer with 30 weapons, holding three deputies inside with him. A standoff ensued with Louisa County sheriffs, and it took 40 officers to bring the man in.

It all started with a 911 call around 5 p.m. Monday. Louisa County sheriffs responded to a simple domestic situation that turned ugly. It took the sheriffs six hours to take the man into custody.

Sheriffs said it was inside a trailer that 31-year-old Willie Sandridge of Buckner held officers at bay. He trapped three deputies inside while holding a gun to his head.

“He barracked himself [inside] a back bedroom with 25 or 30 weapons and a big arsenal of ammunition,” said Major Don Lowe of the Louisa County Sheriff’s Department. "One of those weapons was an automatic, military-type weapon."

Sheriffs said Sandridge at one point threatened to kill the officers, and then pointed the gun on himself. Deputies negotiated for hours, providing cigarettes in exchange for weapons from the suspect.

“He would appear at the doorway on several occasions with a gun up underneath his chin and his thumb on the trigger and that's the way he pretty much walked around his house almost the entire time that way,” said Lowe.

After six hours, a special negotiator from Virginia State Police was able to talk the man out.

“Patience, you have to have patience in a situation like this to have the best chance for a successful outcome,” said Lowe.

Thirty weapons were recovered from the home, and Sandridge was taken to UVA Hospital where he is being held for 72 hours under mental evaluation.

Also, after allegedly putting the deputy officers’ lives in danger, it’s almost ironic that Sandridge can only be charged with two misdemeanors. He is facing a domestic violence charge and a brandishing a firearm charge.

The commonwealth attorney is looking over the case to determine if any additional charges can be filed against Sandridge.

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