Police safely apprehend woman barricaded in apartment

Adam Curtis Police Press Releases, Public Affairs Press Releases

Gayle Farris

The Sierra Vista Police Department safely apprehended a woman armed with a handgun who barricaded herself in her apartment for more than 6 hours on Wednesday.

At about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, officers responded to Vista Village Apartments, located at 1125 N. 7th Street, for a report of a woman brandishing a handgun and attempting to break a window outside her neighbor’s apartment. When officers arrived, the woman had already returned to her apartment. The woman, identified as 63-year-old Sierra Vista resident Gayle Farris, would not cooperate with the officers on scene and barricaded herself inside her apartment.

Officers evacuated the neighboring apartments and the SVPD Tactical Unit was activated. Seventh Street was closed from Charles Drive to Clark Drive. When the Tactical Unit arrived on scene, negotiations with Farris began but were unsuccessful. At this point, less-lethal chemicals were deployed from the backyard area into Farris’ apartment. Farris then fired her handgun twice toward the officers. Further attempts to negotiate were unsuccessful.

Several hours passed without any communication from Farris and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team arrived on scene to assist. With all of the utilities shut off to Farris’ apartment, additional less-lethal chemicals were deployed into the apartment. Farris once again fired her handgun several times.

At that point, at about 8:46 p.m., Farris exited her barricaded room and walked toward the front door of her apartment with the handgun still in her hand. A member of the SVPD Tactical Unit fired a less-lethal impact weapon and struck Farris twice. Farris then exited the front door and immediately complied with commands to drop the gun. She was taken into custody without further incident.

“I’m proud of how our officers maintained their composure throughout this volatile, prolonged incident and that it was resolved safely, without resulting in any injuries or loss of life. A situation like this requires contributions from many members of our department, well beyond those on the front line, and everyone rose to the occasion as they always do,” says SVPD Police Chief Adam Thrasher, who was at the scene on Wednesday evening.

“We’re also very appreciative of how the residents at the apartment complex and surrounding area cooperated with police and remained patient when access to the area, and some apartments, was restricted,” Thrasher says.

After Farris was taken into custody, SVPD detectives executed a search warrant at her apartment and collected evidence.

Farris was transported to Canyon Vista Medical Center for medical clearance and then booked into Cochise County Jail on the following charges: five counts of attempted homicide, disorderly conduct involving a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest. She is being held on a $500,000 bond.