At least 100 officers surrounded the rural home of Arthur Bixby in western South Carolina on Monday. Bixby's wife then holed up in an apartment in town and threatened to shoot bystanders if her husband or son were injured; she was promptly arrested, State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said.
It began Monday morning when a magistrate's officer went to the house in a rural part of the state to follow up on an incident from the previous week involving a dispute between Department of Transportation workers and someone from the house, officials said.
When the officer failed to return, two deputies went to the Bixby home looking for him.
What happened next is unclear, but the deputies called for help and law enforcement officials surrounded the home, and the standoff began.
Eleven hours later, officers unsuccessfully tried to storm the home and were shot at with powerful weapons, Stewart said.
"I've never seen so much force," Stewart said. None of the family members tried to negotiate with officers during the standoff.
"This was planned," Stewart said.
The gunfight lasted about 10 minutes and police fired tear gas inside the home. Bixby's son, 36-year-old Steven Bixby, surrendered. Two hours later, officers entered the home and arrested Arthur Bixby, who apparently was wounded in the gunfight. He was hospitalized and his condition was not available early Tuesday.
At some point during the standoff, the Bixbys destroyed two remote control robots authorities sent into the house to figure out what was happening, Stewart said.
Inside the home, authorities found a dead deputy and what they described as anti-American literature and suicide notes. Similar material also was found inside the apartment in town where Bixby's wife was arrested. Authorities did not say whose apartment it was.
Stewart said the family had prepared for the standoff and fortified the house's doors to make it harder for police to break in.
Authorities identified the two dead officers as Danny Wilson and Donnie M. Ouzts.
Ouzts apparently had been shot from a distance with a rifle, state Public Safety spokesman Sid Gaulden said; Wilson was found inside the home. Authorities would not say which one first went to the house.
Gene Land, Bixby's neighbor who lives about a half-mile away, said Steven Bixby was angry because the state planned to take some of his land to widen the highway. The Bixbys had lived in the house for more than 10 years, Land said.