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October 1, 2019 -

The News-Star

A Downsville man is facing years behind bars following a Sept. 26 conviction on charges of shooting at law enforcement officers in April 2017.

A 12-member jury found Gary Phillip Sims, 40, guilty of aggravated battery against a police officer and six counts of aggravated assault with a firearm against an officer.

The jury returned its verdict after 3.5 hours of deliberation in Third Judicial District Court at Farmerville.

Assistant District Attorney Cliff Strider III, who prosecuted the case, said the sentencing range is from zero to 10 years on each count. Sims is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 25 before Judge Jeff Robinson.

The shooting and standoff with law enforcement started at about 8:30 a.m. April 11, 2017 when Lt. Bruce McCrell arrived at Sims’ mobile home on Buck Drive in the Downsville area to serve a warrant issued by the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, according to reports at the time.

McCrell knocked on both front and back doors and at all times identifying himself as a sheriff’s deputy. He then approached an outside bedroom door, knocked and once again identified himself as a deputy, Sheriff Dusty Gates said at the time of the incident.

A person inside fired a blast from a 12-gauge shotgun through the wall of the mobile home at the officer.

He retreated and called for backup, and within a short time, SWAT personnel from Monroe Police, OPSO and Louisiana State Police arrived.

During the standoff, which ended about 1:30 p.m., the suspect fired two more shotgun blasts at MPD and LSP SWAT members.

A tear gas agent was finally deployed inside the residence and Sims ran out the back door.

He refused to get on the ground as ordered, according to the arrest report. It stated that the suspect was shot with a bean bag and still fought with officers.

Sims told investigators at the time that he thought the deputy “was his boys” and that he did shoot at them. When asked why he shot at the SWAT officers, he replied, “I did what I had to do.”

Monroe lawyer Bob Noel is representing Sims.

Lincoln Parish Office

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100 West Texas Ave. 2nd Floor Ruston, LA 71270 Phone: (318) 513-6350 Fax: (318) 251-5103

Union Parish Office

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100 East Bayou Street Farmerville, LA 71241 Phone: (318) 368-2201 Fax: (318) 368-3717