SWAT standoff in Norcross ends peacefully

NORCROSS — Gwinnett County SWAT team members were able to resolve a three-hour standoff peacefully Friday afternoon, coaxing a man wanted by the Secret Service out of his Norcross hotel room.

Police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said 69-year-old Michael Frank Burgess was wanted on a federal warrant for failure to appear on wire fraud charges. When Secret Service agents attempted to serve the warrant at the Norcross Inn off Jones Mill Road, the Alpharetta man barricaded himself in his room, threatening suicide and the use of violence “toward any law enforcement that would take him into custody.”

Gwinnett’s SWAT team, mobile operations centers and dozens of police cruisers were called to the scene at about 2 p.m.

“Based on (the threats), they called us out,” Ritter said. “We were here to help them and get this guy back into custody.”

During the standoff, the man’s pit bull was escorted from his room at the motel and taken into custody by Gwinnett Animal Control. The scene outside the motel was mostly quiet — but crowded — until about 5 p.m., when police announced they had convinced Burgess to leave his room and be taken into custody.

“Our negotiators had constant contact with him,” Ritter said, “and over a three-hour period here, we were able to convince him to come out on his own accord.”

Another guest at the extended-stay motel, who asked not to be named, said he frequently came into contact with Burgess during his own three-week stay there.

Thursday’s events seemed out of Burgess’ character, he said.

“Real nice guy ... He was a cordial type of person,” he said. “No real threat or anything. But I guess you never know.”