Cop shooter dead after 14-hour ordeal
SWAT uses tear gas, robot during standoff

SUGAR HILL - Authorities are trying to determine what killed a 37-year-old man who barricaded himself inside a home Thursday evening after he shot two Gwinnett police officers.

The man, identified by police as William Shable Caram, was found dead at about 10:30 a.m. Friday inside a closet on the second floor at 5534 White Cedar Terrace, a home in the Saddle Tree subdivision where he rented a room.

The discovery followed a 14-hour standoff that caused traffic on Suwanee Dam Road to be blocked overnight.

Documents show the incident wasn't the first time Caram has clashed with police recently.

Last Saturday night, Caram tried to run over four Gwinnett police officers - including Sgt. Michael P. McKeithan, whom he later shot - at a safety checkpoint in Suwanee, according to an arrest warrant.

Police said, Caram barreled through the checkpoint in his 2000 Ford Taurus, nearly striking four officers who darted to safety. Another officer had leaned into Caram's passenger side door as he sped away, according to the warrant.

Following those actions, police lodged a list of charges against Caram, including four counts of aggravated assault, fleeing police, obstruction of law enforcement and reckless conduct.

Those charges led officers to the upscale Sugar Hill home where the standoff occurred, police said.

Shots exchanged

The confrontation began about 8 p.m. Thursday, when McKeithan and Gwinnett police Cpl. William M. Hoch arrived at the house to serve Caram with the warrants.

A woman who was also renting a room in the house let the officers in and directed them to Caram's bedroom on the second floor, authorities said. Another man, reportedly also a renter, was present as well.

After the officers knocked, authorities said Caram shot a rifle through his bedroom door, injuring McKeithan and Hoch.

Two other Gwinnett police officers who were on the scene heard the gunfire, and authorities said one of them went inside to help the injured officers escape.

Hoch, who was shot in the leg, was able to make it down the stairs himself, but the third officer had to drag the more seriously injured McKeithan out of the house.

Caram began shooting his weapon again, and the third officer fired back, authorities said.

A Gwinnett County Police SWAT team responded between 8:30 and 9 p.m., and police sent a robot inside the house in an attempt to negotiate Caram's surrender. Caram reportedly told officers that he was injured and asked for help, but authorities said he refused to surrender his weapon, so police refused to go inside.

At some point during the negotiations, Caram went into his bedroom and fired a gun from his window. Several rounds of tear gas were fired into the house throughout the night, and the Georgia State Patrol SWAT team was called to help replenish the county's diminishing resources.

Several agencies assisted during the standoff, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, the Suwanee Police Department, the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, the Norcross Police Department and the Lawrenceville Police Department.

There were several hours of silence throughout the night, but a SWAT team entered the home at about 5:30 a.m. Friday. Authorities said the team made it to the top of the stairs when Caram began shooting at the officers.

At about 7 a.m., the team re-entered the house and secured the first floor, placing "explosive charges to dislodge him from a concealed area," authorities said. By securing the house, officers were able to determine Caram had died in a closet in an upstairs bedroom, authorities said. A loaded and cocked handgun was found by his side.

Community shockwave

Throughout the standoff, Suwanee Dam Road remained closed from Whitehead Road and Saltcreek Parkway. Because the incident was still ongoing Friday morning, Gwinnett County Public Schools officials decided to close Riverside Elementary School because of concerns regarding safety and transportation, said Sloan Roach, a district spokeswoman. The school was the only one in the county that canceled classes, and students will not have to make up the missed day, Roach said.

The school is located off Johnson Road, which was blocked to traffic.

The road was reopened after 11 a.m., after police had discovered Caram's body. Crime scene investigators took over, collecting evidence and taking several photographs of the battered house.

The Gwinnett County Police Department will continue to investigate the incident, spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said, as is routine, his office will investigate to see if police violated any laws in their use of deadly force.

Gwinnett police said Friday night Caram's family had been notified of his death.

But by nightfall on the day he died, little was known about Caram's personal life.

He recently lived in New York state, according to an address listed on the warrant. He previously resided in Greene - a quaint, historic community about 190 miles northwest of New York City.

Ernest Cutting, an undersheriff in Chenango County, said his records don't indicate Caram was a troublemaker during his stint in Greene.

"We have absolutely no contacts with him at all," said Cutting. "He was never in jail here."

Photos from the stand-off: Jason Braverman