This is a slideshow of much of the damage sustained to a home where authorities thought Desmonte Leonard was hiding.More >>
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
One man's narrow escape, ultimately became the struggle of a lifetime for two homeowners.
Yakemi and Marzette McInnis watched along with the country as U.S. Marshals, Montgomery Police, Montgomery Sheriff's Deputies and the Gulf Fugitive Task Force restlessly ripped through their home.
"We are still shocked at the extent of the damage."
Four weeks later, evidence of that six hour manhunt is still present at every turn.
Marzette McInnis points out, "It starts in laundry, goes all through house. Insulation is all over the floors."
The holes in the kitchen are only the start of what spiraled into a massive search for Desmonte Leonard in the crawl space above the ceiling; ripping through the sheet rock, and destroying everything that could conceal a fugitive.
Yakemi McInnis shows, "They pulled down insulation in each of the ceilings, I guess the holes represent what they were trying to see...to see if anyone was actually up there."
The couch where Leonard was allegedly seen still sits disheveled, covered in piles of insulation...
"This was the most surprising part, the master bath sustained the most damage." The tattered bathroom with exposed duct work is closest to the garage, and the portion of the attic where authorities initially believed Leonard was hiding.
With the exception of tear gas canisters, the attic was exactly as the homeowners had left it: empty with only one heat source.
Marzette remembers, "When they said there was a heat source in the attic, I said there's a hot water heater."
While we will never know what was in the attic that Monday night, we found a water heater, and a storage space, still intact. "We have no knowledge that he was actually here."
But the real issue inside this house can't be seen. "It's is pretty tough, two weeks later, the gas is still pretty strong" Marzette explains. His attorney, Nick Hughes reports, "We're told there were 32 canisters [of tear gas] released in the house."
The tear gas deployed during the manhunt will require the McInnis' to rip out the ceiling, all electrical wiring, flooring and all furniture inside the house at the time of the standoff. A costly venture that could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Yakemi believes the damage was unnecessary, "This damage is excessive. I don't think it had to be this excessive."
In the days to follow, officials defended the action taken at the home, and believe it ultimately led to Leonard's surrender.
Mayor Todd Strange, one day after the standoff, quieted any who doubted the force used, "If that same set of circumstances happens tonight, we'll do the exact same thing." Less than an hour after the capture, Public Safety Director Chris Murphy built on Strange's comment, "I believe that family members of that suspect, if that suspect, were watching last night. If it were me, I would be saying, "There's no where for me to run.""
The price of a peaceful resolution, now seen through a different scope.
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1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Evansville, IN 47720