Yesterday Smyrna was victim and bystander to a domestic situation out of control. Shots were wildly fired and a neighborhood was thrown into turmoil. The Smyrna Police Department, with assistance of the Rutherford County Sheriff's office was able to end the situation without the loss of life.
The Department released the following information.
On April 9th at approximately 7:23pm the Smyrna Police Department received a 911 call from the wife of Michael Cowger, 64 years of age, from their home at 300 Ella Street. The caller stated that Mr. Cowger was very upset, intoxicated, and was armed with a weapon. When officers arrived on the scene they could observe Mr. Cowger walking through the home in a very agitated state and firing rounds from the weapon inside the home. Officers established a perimeter, attempted to locate residents that lived next door for evacuation, and contacted our SWAT team. During this time, several rounds could be seen exiting the windows of the home.
Once our SWAT team arrived it was decided to contact the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and seek their assistance also. We requested that the Sheriff’s Office drive a Bearcat to the scene which is a tactical armored vehicle. Several attempts were made to get Mr. Cowger to communicate with our negotiators and he refused. The decision was made to cut all electricity to Mr. Cowger’s residence in the hopes this would get him to communicate. He still refused to talk to us. A decision was made to deploy tear gas into the home in an attempt to get Mr. Cowger to come out of the home which caused Mr. Cowger to fire a round from a weapon through a window in our direction. The decision was made to deploy the Bearcat and to establish an entry into the home through the garage. This caused Mr. Cowger to finally begin communicating with our negotiators. Negotiations went for approximately 2 hours with Mr. Cowger asking for officers to shoot him several times in an apparent attempt of “suicide by cop.” He even threatened to begin shooting through walls at the officers in an attempt to get them to engage him.
Officers could see Mr. Cowger through an upstairs window. He had barricaded himself in an office by placing a desk against the door. An order was given for a sniper to shoot Mr. Cowger with direct impact foam rounds, a less lethal option. Mr. Cowger was hit three times with these rounds and an entry team forced their way into the room, taking Mr. Cowger into custody. Mr. Cowger is currently being evaluated by medical personnel. Warrants have been obtained charging Mr. Cowger with 6 counts of Reckless Endangerment, a class E felony, and one count of Aggravated Domestic Assault. He will be served with the warrants once evaluation is done and a court date set.I linked to a website that shows what a Bearcat armored vehicle looks like and what a standard foam rubber round looks like.