BCSO: Man who was shot and killed by deputies identified - KMOV.com

BCSO: Man who was shot and killed by deputies identified

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Robert Yates Jr., pictured in a 2013 arrest photo Robert Yates Jr., pictured in a 2013 arrest photo

Investigators with the Baldwin County Major Crimes Task Force said 65 year-old Robert Lewis Yates, Jr. is the man deputies shot and killed Monday, March 5, 2018 after an hours-long standoff.  Baldwin County deputies were attempting to serve eviction papers to him when investigators said Yates began shooting at the deputies.

The Baldwin County Major Crimes Unit is looking into the incident as a whole to make sure laws were followed and the use of deadly force was warranted.

 “They came down the road where I live on and we’re back and you could see them with their bullet proof jackets and rifles walking into the woods so was wondering what’s going on,” recalled neighbor, Tim Swenson.

Swenson was one of dozens of nearby residents who either had to evacuate or take shelter inside as Sheriff’s deputies tried to talk Yates out of his home.  This, after two deputies tried to serve eviction papers to Yates and were fired on.  Investigators said Yates refused to respond.  That’s when Swenson said he saw deputies move in.

“You could also see their armored vehicle had torn off one of the windows and you could see the shades and we also heard several canisters of teargas being let off in the trailer,” Swenson said.

Then, the SWAT team moved in.  Once again, investigators said Yates opened fire, striking several officers in their armored shields and vests.  Deputies returned fire, killing Yates.  Officials aren’t yet sure how many SWAT team members were hit or fired back.

“The SWAT team entered as a team so you could answer that question as the whole SWAT team was fired upon.  I don’t think it was a particular officer,” said Capt. Jud Beedy with the Major Crimes Unit.  “We’re still getting those details as we go so I would say that there were two shooting incidents, when the deputies first responded and then when the SWAT team entered.”

Investigators said there were two guns found inside the home, but didn’t say what type were used against the deputies.  

District Attorney Bob Wilters said the eviction process against Yates began in December of 2016 after multiple complaints about the upkeep of the rental property.  In May of 2017 a default judgment was entered against Yates by the court. While Yates owned the trailer he was living in, Wilters said he didn’t own the property and was being forced out.  This was the first time he’d been confronted in person.

“In law enforcement, especially these days, there’s no routine, mundane duty that officers do and deputies do every day that they can take for granted anymore,” said Chief Edward Delmore with the Major Crimes Unit.  “This was a very routine situation and it turned deadly in the blink of an eye.”

The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office is conducting its own internal investigation to make sure departmental procedures were followed.

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