An Albertville man remains in Huntsville Hospital following an hours-long standoff with law enforcement Tuesday morning near Albertville. 

Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said Christopher Johnston barricaded himself in a home near Verlon Painter Motors at the intersection of Alabama Highway 68 and 75 Tuesday morning as officers tried to serve warrants at the home. The intersection is north of Albertville.

Johnston shot himself after officers shot tear gas canisters into an attic space above a two-bay garage at about 1 p.m. Tuesday. He suffered abdominal wounds and was taken by ambulance to Marshall Medical Center South before being flown to Huntsville Hospital, Sims said. 

“He’s in stable but serious condition in the ICU,” Sims said. “We have a guard on him 24/7.”

Johnston was wanted on various felony warrants out of Marshall County. Sims said he requested back up and assistance from the FBI, U.S. Marshals, and the county’s special response team comprised of officers from Boaz, Albertville, Guntersville and Arab. The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was pressed into service for surveillance and the Albertville Fire Department was on hand in case of medical emergency. 

Officers took Johnston into custody at about 1:10 p.m. Officers remained on the scene until about 4:30 p.m. Sims said. 

Two additional adults and a juvenile were in the home at the time of the standoff, but were not injured. 

Deputy Sheriff Steve Guthrie said an investigation in the standoff continues with additional arrests and charges expected to be filed. 

Sims said Johnston will not only face the warrants, but will be charged with additional drug charges after 17 grams of meth was found on his body at the hospital.

“It was a long day for our guys,” Sims said. “They did a good job, especially being in the heat all day.

“You can never predict the outcome in a situation like this. You certainly don’t get to choose your circumstances.”

A neighbor live-streamed the events for nearly an hour on Facebook. While Sims said what the man did was not illegal, it was not a good choice.

“Social media, cell phones and video are great tools,” Sims said. “But it can hamper law enforcement. 

“Not only can friends and neighbors see what is going on, but the bad guys can too. They could feed information to the person we are after that could help him get away or help him hurt us. 

“The man in question was on his own property showing what was happening in public view. He did not violate any laws that I am aware of. Was it the best thing to do? Probably not.”

The State Bureau of Investigation arrived on scene at Sims’ request to review the incident. 


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