Tactical teams defuse tense domestic situation

Stephen Igo • Jan 28, 2018 at 5:31 PM

BIG STONE GAP — A tense domestic situation in Big Stone Gap beginning Saturday night was eventually defused by tactical teams and resulted in the arrest of a 69-year-old man alleged to be holding his wife against her will in their home.

On Sunday, the Wise County Sheriff's Office said Wise Central Dispatch received a call at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday that a woman was being held against her will at 3103 Gibson Hill Road in Big Stone Gap. The caller alleged the woman was being threatened by her husband who was armed with a firearm.

Wise County deputies responded and attempted to make contact with the husband, David Ray Ball, without success. The Sheriff's Response Team and crisis negotiators were activated by Sheriff Ronnie Oakes because of the seriousness of the allegations.

The WCSO said a security perimeter was established, and negotiators attempted to contact Ball and his wife by cell phone and land line phone. The WCSO said several hundred call attempts were made over approximately three hours with no response.

The Virginia State Police 4th Division Tactical Team was contacted for use of the VSP's armored vehicle stationed in Smyth County. The WCSO said deputies and VSP Tactical Team members approached the residence in the armored vehicle. Several attempts to make contact via the vehicle's public address system were tried for approximately one hour with no response.

The tactical teams then approached the back door of the residence to breach it for insertion of a WCSO SWAT robot. Once the door was breached and the robot sent inside, authorities received a response from the occupants.

The female was brought out safely, the WCSO said, and after about another 20 minutes Ball surrendered to authorities without incident. A search of Ball uncovered a loaded firearm on his person, the WCSO said.

Ball was charged with obstruction of justice. The incident is still under investigation by the WCSO.

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