SWAT standoff leads to investigation of Spalding assistant county manager, arrest of former Code Enforcement officer

Booking photo provided by the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office


Spalding County Code Enforcement Officer Steven Arnold was on Saturday arrested after a standoff at his residence involving the Griffin Police Department SWAT Team and Uniform Patrol Division personnel.

Police initially responded to Arnold’s Sylvan Lane residence in response to a 911 call reporting a suicide threat. The caller, later identified as Misty Arnold, Steven Arnold’s wife, also told 911 dispatchers her husband was sitting on the back porch and armed.

Under the direction of Officer Phillip Johnson, Misty Arnold and her children safely exited the residence. She then called her father-in-law, Mike Arnold, who was upstairs in her home, and he safely exited, as well.

Officer Jeff Gauldin reported that Misty Arnold said she and her husband had a verbal altercation after which Steve Arnold threatened there would be a standoff with police if they came to their residence.

“Mrs. Arnold stated to me that a verbal altercation had occurred after she confronted her husband Steven Arnold, that he had been drinking alcohol to heavily, and that it occurs quit (sic) often,” Gauldin said. “She stated at that time that Mr. (Steven) Arnold, who works for Spalding County Code Enforcement, had placed his service weapon under his chin, and threaten to shot himself (sic all).”

According to Gauldin’s report, Misty Arnold said she asked her husband, “Are you going to do this with our kids in this house?”

She advised officers that in addition to an unidentified handgun, her husband also had his work radio with which he could monitor police radio traffic.

Sgt. Sam Jones arrived at the scene and notified Capt. Mike Natale and the SWAT Team of the situation.

A perimeter was set up around the residence to observe any activity.

“A short time later, Ms. Michelle Irizarry arrived at my location, and at the time Mrs. Arnold screamed, stating ‘I don’t want that b*tch her, she is the reason for all this… (sic all),” Gauldin said in reporting Misty Arnold alleged Irizarry was involved with her husband.

Jones instructed Irizarry to leave the residence.

Soon after, a co-worker of Mr. Arnold arrived and told police he had called Steven Arnold several times but his calls had been unanswered.

“A short time later, Mr. (Steven) Arnold called his coworker, and stated to him that he was no longer at the residence,” Gauldin said. “About 30 minutes had past Sgt. Jones had received a call from 911 Dispatcher informing him that Ms. Irizarry had picked up Mr. Arnold from the area of Crescent Rd. Elementary and had taken him to the residence of William Wilson, who is the County Manager (sic all).”

Gauldin soon learned Irizarry had driven Steven Arnold to Spalding Regional Hospital for evaluation by medical personnel.

Gauldin said he later observed the suspect aggressively confronting another GPD officer.

“Upon my arrival, I observed Mr. (Steven) Arnold standing toe to toe in front of Off. Astyk face yelling and screaming at him saying ‘what the f*ck you going to do, you wanna lock me the f*ck up don’t you, go head and lock me up (sic all),’” Gauldin stated, adding that Steven Arnold appeared to be “highly intoxicated,” and was using “obscene and vulgar language,” all of which was observed by others present at the hospital.

Steven Arnold was taken into custody and charged with terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

GPD officers then questioned Irizarry, asking why she did not notify police she had contacted the suspect.

According to Gauldin, Irizarry said that she is Spalding’s assistant county manager and Steven Arnold’s “boss,” and that she did not know the protocol.

“I informed her that officers was still on the scene thinking Mr. (Steven) Arnold was in the residence, and other residents was unable to leave their homes for safety reasons (sic all),” Gauldin said, adding that Natale also attempted to explain the seriousness of officers being unaware Irizarry and her 22-year-old daughter, Brittany, had picked up the suspect.

In a later interview, Wilson said Steven Arnold is no longer a Spalding County employee.

“Mr. Arnold sent in a letter of resignation Saturday afternoon. He submitted an email message at 7:42 p.m. on Saturday,” Wilson said. “I think this incident happened after that.”
Wilson also confirmed an investigation is being conducted by Spalding County Human Resources Director Miles Neville.

“To my knowledge, there may still be an ongoing investigation with the city of Griffin,” Wilson said. “As for the county, she is at work and HR is investigating the situation.”

When asked the basis of Neville’s investigation, Wilson said, “I assume you have read the city of Griffin reports. There was a statement in there made by the wife of Steven Arnold.”

Asked if the Human Resources investigation will delve into Gauldin’s allegation that Irizarry interfered in a SWAT standoff and police investigation while citing her official capacity as assistant county manager, Wilson said, “That one, like I say, would be the city investigating that one. We’re not police, so I don’t know.”

Wilson later elaborated stating, “Like I said, there are several things in those statements that we are looking into and it’s currently under investigation, and that’s really all I should say, Sheila.”

The GRIP will continue to follow these investigations and report additional information as it becomes available.

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  1. Crystal Jones says:

    This is unfortunate to hear about his decisions. I have dealt with the office & him before. He was fair, professional & kind maintaining a calm demeanor.
    I reckon esp in the jobs like these dealing with the public having to follow specific guidelines and on a timely basis this is it especially hard for them in a Corona has been bad for everybody I can’t imagine how much harder it is on people needing time to relax get okay from their weeks or their days xcetera then really cannot because everybody being at home all the time I’m sure it’s got to be crazy for people in that position and I just feel like this is just really sad

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