SWAT team descends on Kennesaw neighborhood
by Leo Hohmann
April 23, 2013 12:02 AM | 8959 views | 8 8 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lawrence J. Birchell
Lawrence J. Birchell

Cobb County rolled its SWAT forces into an upscale neighborhood late Sunday night to arrest a man accused of firing a shot at another man who worked for him.

Lawrence J. Birchell, 54, of 313 Mossy Way, Kennesaw, reportedly fired a shot at Lawrence Freeman, 60, inside Birchell’s home after the two men argued over money.

Cobb County police arrived en masse, according to neighbors in the Lost Creek subdivision, with 30 to 40 officers and at least a dozen vehicles, including a military-style armored vehicle.

The raid went down about 11 p.m. Sunday. It was after 12:30 a.m. Monday before the officers left the scene with their suspect in tow, according to three separate accounts from residents of the subdivision.

“I have never witnessed anything like that. It was an incredible scene,” said one neighbor. “I mean, it was surreal.” The resident said SWAT members arrived “in full regalia” carrying assault rifles and wearing protective vests, helmets and what appeared to be nightvision goggles.

“The amount of resources that were out on the street in this neighborhood, I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been living here for 23 years,” said the resident, who called the Journal to find out the nature of the incident to which the police were responding. “As a taxpayer, I want to know what was going on.”

The resident said there were “more unmarked cars than marked” on the scene.

He said he walked outside to ask one of the officers what was going on and was told that they were trying to serve a warrant and that he should “go back inside your home.” He said the officer’s “body language was tense,” and he obeyed the command, continuing to monitor the situation from an upstairs window in his house.

Sgt. Dana Pierce, spokesman for Cobb police, said the incident originally was reported to police about 3 p.m. Sunday when Freeman told them he arrived at Birchell’s home to get paid for work he had performed for Birchell. When the argument escalated, Birchell allegedly pulled out a gun and fired a shot at Freeman, according to Freeman’s account given to police.

“The victim said that his employer had shot at him inside the suspect’s residence on Mossy Way over a dispute about owed wages,” Pierce said. Pierce said Birchell was “not cooperating” when officers showed up at his residence to arrest him. They obtained a search warrant and returned with the warrant Sunday night to search his house.

“We searched for evidence inside the home to corroborate (the employee’s account),” Pierce said. “He resisted commands, and then they used a less-lethal platform and he was taken into custody with minor injuries.”

The less-lethal weapon used to subdue Birchell was a bean-bag gun, Pierce said. This is considered less lethal than a Taser stun gun. Birchell remained in Cobb County jail Monday pending a bond hearing. He is charged with aggravated assault.

Pierce said Cobb police will dispatch the SWAT team when they know a weapon is involved and the suspect is being uncooperative.

“He shot at the individual. So they do roll out the contingency,” Pierce said.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 23, 2013
Instead of paying 40 officers overtime, the police should've allowed the Sheriff's Office do their job and serve this warrant. 2 deputies, no overtime
April 23, 2013
You are right. These law enforcement folks get a real kick out of dressing up like storm troopers and pulling out all of their assault vehicles and weapons...all on the Cobb taxpayer dime. Big fun for the folks that like showing the public who is boss.

April 23, 2013
I am not sure if you guys have ever had the pleasure of meeting any of the personnel assigned to either one of the entities that you are attempting to bash but I have.

First off, as I read through the article it clearly sounds as though this was a necessary SWAT situation and in fact had the potential to turn into a hostage situation. I am sure you guys are complete tough guys and could certainly manage your own military style assault but when situations have the potential to get bad, I will leave it to the professionals with proper gear.

Another thing, the Sheriff’s department in Cobb County should never be compared to the police department. Not that one is better than the other, just that they are both great at their respected job specifications. I can tell you that the deputies that I know would not do very well in a SWAT situation and certainly not good in a hostage situation. When you call 911, you get the police. When you are arrested and need to be taken care of, you get the Sheriff’s department. Personally I am very thankful for the opportunity to live in a county such as Cobb and rest well at night knowing that our county is protected by one of the best law enforcement agencies in the state.

Just Wait
April 24, 2013
You two are absolutely clueless on how law enforcement performs it's duties. You might consider attending a citizens police academy and become better informed.
Be Careful
April 23, 2013
Article slightly misleading.

Mossy Way isn't in Kennesaw.

MDJ Digital Editor
April 23, 2013
See my note on your other comment. This home also has a Kennesaw address.
April 23, 2013
In this argument over money in Kennesaw, GA where everyone is required by law to own a gun, was Mr Birchell the Good Guy With a Gun or was it Mr Freeman? Help me understand please.

The internet needs a "Good Guy WIth a Gun" website like the old "Hot Or Not" websites where all NRA members can go vote for which person in a gun involved altercation was the Good Gun With A Gun. NRA, get on it!
May 02, 2013
First of all, we are not in the city limits of Kennesaw, so the gun requirement does not apply to our residents, Secondly, Mossy Way is considered Kennesaw according to USPS. It is amazing that we have a resident shooting at another human being and the concern was whether or not the city was reported correctly. Also, necessary force or not, this individual has a history of using his firearms inappropriately. So I hope if you ever have the misfortune of this being in your backyard, they don't just send 2 innocent deputies.
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