standoff aftermath

Alice Harrison, left, and Joseph S. Harrison Jr., right, stand in front of a window of their house, which was broken during a standoff with police on Feb. 4. They are hoping for the public's help in covering the cost of cleaning up from the standoff. The Harrison's say they can't go inside the home without wearing gas masks. (Ryan McCarthy/Daily Republic)


Family, whose son was in police standoff, asks for help

By From page A3 | February 13, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The family of the man who barricaded himself inside a central Fairfield home says they can’t return to their residence and that their insurance company won’t pay for the cleanup.

Alice Harrison said after nearly three years of paying premiums to American Bankers that the insurer told her it would cover a fire or burglary but not damages resulting from police responding Feb. 4 to a standoff on Cormorant Court.

“They wouldn’t even cover one loaf of bread,” she said.

An American Bankers representative could not be reached for comment about its insurance coverage.

Harrison said the family is staying at a motel and can’t go inside their home without wearing gas masks. Police fired gas canisters into the residence Feb. 4 in a bid to get her son, Gordon Keith Johnson, 27, out of the house.

Six windows were broken and Harrison described the damage to the home as quite extensive. She said the city ran fans for a day inside the home to clear out the tear gas.

Harrison said she’s thankful no one was injured during the incident.

“We’re just grateful for the Fairfield Police Department,” she said. “They took good care of us. They took good care of George.”

“They kept us updated. They kept us safe,” she said.

Neighbors helped the family after the standoff, Harrison said.

She said her son remains incarcerated after the seven-hour standoff ended with him being taken into custody. A Feb. 18 preliminary hearing is scheduled in his case, which Harrison said includes a charge of his possessing a weapon.

Her son has to have professional care, she said. Johnson was staying in Oakland when he was beat up and robbed in a park, Harrison said. That changed him, his mother said.

The family was unaware he had a revolver until the Feb. 4 incident, she said.

The family has set up a relief fund at Travis Credit Union with the father’s name for people who want to assist with the cost of the home’s cleanup. People who wish to contribute to the Joseph S. Harrison Jr. fund can go to a Travis Credit Union branch.

“We’re hoping for anything,” Alice Harrison said. “We’re really just at loose ends.”

Harrison said that separate from the standoff, her 19-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son are recovering from surgeries.

“We’re OK,” she said. “We’re just tired. We’re exhausted.”

The standoff began when callers reported a family member was damaging property and threatening residents with a firearm, police said. Officers were able to get the residents out of the house.

Police negotiators and SWAT team members tried to make contact with the suspect. He remained unresponsive for several hours.

Officers blocked off Cormorant Drive from Cormorant Place to East Tabor Avenue and police had a sniper stationed on a rooftop behind the house where the suspect lived.

Soon after officers rushed in the direction of the house, police confirmed the suspect was in custody.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 4 comments

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  • just a thoughtFebruary 13, 2014 - 6:50 pm

    Are you serious? Your really asking the community to contribute to a relief fund because your son is a criminal and the police had to extract him from your home after he endangered your family and the surrounding nieghbors for hours? Your mess to clean up not your insurance companies, and certainly not ours. And spare me the professional help rubbish. How about YOU contribute to a relief fund to cover costs of professional help for the children of the community that may have been frightened while YOUR son threw his little temper tantrum. I cant believe I am the only one that is outraged by this.

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  • MelFebruary 13, 2014 - 9:21 pm

    I'm a little taken a back by this too. Just wondering how much of the damage was done by the hands of the son?

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  • CD BrooksFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:58 am

    This is clearly a case where the insured did not understand their policy and most folks don't! If you're not the parent or guardian of a handicapped person or you don't know family or friends personally having been through it, you have no idea the difficulties parents deal with. Now they have to face the reality that the premiums they've dutifully paid and the coverage they never imagined they'd have questioned is useless. Unless the insurance company finds a "hole" in the policy or decides to "give in" which is highly unlikely, this couple has to pay the bills. My wife and I were talking about this story yesterday and the cynical nature of folks writing here, we all are to some extent. There are people that deserve our cynicism and others like these good people that do not. I hope folks can find it within themselves to help in one way or another.

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  • ChristinaFebruary 16, 2014 - 7:53 pm

    I feel badly that this happened to his family, but how about NO! My mother and Aunt had to park down the street and around the corner, then be escorted to my mother's home by a member of law enforcement. I'm just glad my 4 children were not there, as this happened right across the street from my mothers house! This is the second time there has been police activity across the street in a couple months, both involving a considerable number of officers.

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