Macon County Chronicle

Sheriffs Department Receives Aid from SWAT Team in Domestic Situation

The Macon County Sheriffs Department received mutual aid from the Lafayette PD SWAT Team on Tuesday night, July 5th, during a domestic situation that has left 58-year-old Ford Allen Robinette in a Nashville hospital this week from a drug overdose, after he allegedly became violent with his wife.

According to a report filed by Sgt. Michael Veatch, of the Macon County Sheriffs Department, he spoke with Joyce Robinette, age 55, at the Westmoreland Police Department before dark last Tuesday, where she had fled after an argument got out of hand at their 129 Phillips Lane residence in west Macon County. She stated that her husband, Ford, had gotten violent and aggressive toward her, mowing down all the flowers and destroying the small shrubs in their yard and breaking several pieces of the yard decorations. She said that he let the air out of her tires and then retrieved two pistols and put them in his pocket. She further acknowledged that he took a marker and had drawn a circle on his forehead and on his chest around his heart, stating that was where he wanted the police to shoot him. He then stated that if she did call the police that he would shoot at them in the driveway and make them kill him. She noted that she was afraid of him as he made remarks about killing himself and others.

The report also stated that Ford Robinette took a picture of his mother and went into another room. Mrs. Robinette was able to obtain one of the pistols, which was a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver. She then left walking, and when he discovered her gone he got into his truck and started down the driveway toward her at a high rate of speed, and she had to jump into the ditch so he would not run over her. She called her sister-in-law who came and picked her up shortly after, as he was screaming for her to get into his truck. Further enraged, he starting backing down the road even faster almost wrecking and when he got off into the edge of Highway 141 and Phillips Lane, he started cutting doughnuts and spinning, while she went to the Westmoreland PD. Sgt. Veatch and Deputy Phil Harper went to the home, and Mr. Robinette, who was still in his vehicle, proceeded toward them at a high rate of speed, forcing them to back up and get out of the car and take cover, to get out of his way. He then stopped his car, back up and stopped again.  

“I received a call around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night that Mr. Ford Robinette had threatened to kill his wife and himself if the police showed up at his Phillips Lane home,” Sheriff Mark Gammons said on Friday morning. “When I arrived on the scene, I observed Mr. Robinette get out of his vehicle and walk back into the house. Then myself, Deputy Harper, Sgt. Veatch and THP Trooper Danny Fisher set up a perimeter around the residence and we announced the Sheriffs Department was outside on the P.A. system, trying to get him to come out, but for approximately two hours we received no response.”

“Due to the fact that he had threatened to kill himself,” the Sheriff continued, “I knew we had to do something. I contacted Chief Amalfitano of the Lafayette Police Department, requesting the SWAT team to remove Mr. Robinette from the home as safely as possible. After they arrived we continued to work together to get the subject out of the house. At that time the Chief and I decided to deploy tear gas to get him to come out, and shortly after he did emerge from the residence and was taken into custody. We believed Mr. Robinette had taken a large amount of prescription medication and we immediately notified EMS and Air Evac after he started having difficulty breathing.”

The report stated that an empty bottle of hydrocodone was found on the floor and it had contained 180, 10 mg. pills that had been filled on June 26th. EMS started CPR and other life saving measures, and the subject was air lifted to Skyline Medical Center where he remains this week.

“I would like to compliment my officers, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Lafayette Police Department for a job well done,” Sheriff Gammons said. “Chief Amalfitano and his officers worked really well with us and it was good to see the LPD and the Sheriff Department working together.”

“After I received the call around 10 p.m. from Sheriff Gammons requesting assistance from the SWAT team involving the situation on Phillips Lane,” Chief Amalfitano stated, “I activated our unit to move into action and we immediately loaded up and headed out. I gave my men a brief review and began planning our course of action and upon arrival I found that the Sheriff had an excellent perimeter already in place. As the Sheriff stated, after we surveyed the residential area, tear gas was deployed into the home, which was of no harm to us or Mr. Robinette. He came out of the residence immediately and was taken into custody. I would also like to thank the sheriff and his officers, THP, my team and everyone at the scene for a job well done. We were glad to be of help to Mark Gammons and the Macon County Sheriffs Department.”

A shot gun was recovered from the home, but the other pistol, which was believed to be a 22, was not found. Charges are pending upon Mr. Robinette’s release from Skyline Medical Center in Nashville.