UPDATE: Man taken into custody after standoff on 5th Street bridge

Yearby Foston standoff
Officers escort Yearby Foston off the Fifth Street bridge, ending the hour-long standoff on Friday afternoon. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 3, 2012)
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Friday, Aug. 3, 2012

6 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Investigators say an armed robbery at Guide One Insurance off Peach Orchard Road on Thursday was one of the first events leading up to Friday afternoon's standoff on the bridge.

The owner of that business is talking to News 12. He says he knows accused armed robbery Yearby Foston and his family on a personal level.

The owner says he was stunned to find out Foston is accused of breaking into his business and attempting to hurt one of his employees.

Read more here.

5:30 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- News 12 was the first on the scene as a standoff in Augusta started around 11 a.m. Friday.

The situation turned tense when when investigators were about to arrest wanted violent offender Yearby Foston.

Foston was wanted in connection with an armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm and criminal attempt rape.

The Sheriff's Office was told he wanted to turn himself in and that's when he took off down the train trestle near the 5th Street bridge, starting a tense standoff that would last more than an hour.

Investigators say the shirtless man threatened to jump and continued to yell at them not to come closer.

"We were working with the suspect, trying to get them to turn themselves in. It led to the train trestle. As we were approaching, he ran across the train tracks," explained Richmond County Cpt. Scott Gay.

SWAT, snipers and water rescue teams were positioned at all angles, working with the man to calm him down and take him into custody.

"We had a lot of elements that we had to overcome. One, the train, the height, and not only for the offender, but for our officers. We had to make sure that everybody was safe," Gay said.

Investigators say Foston is responsible for an armed robbery, aggravated assault and criminal attempt rape at the Guide One Insurance on Peach Orchard Road Thursday night.

"He does not want to go back to prison; he has a long criminal history," Gay said. "When you're negotiating with a violent offender, you have to make sure that all little details are crossed."

Leading the negotiations with Foston was former sergeant and current Richmond County School Safety Lt. Richard Roundtree.

"I received a call from the suspect's cousin that he was wanted by police on a case and was threatening suicide," Roundtree said.

Lt. Blaise Dresser says the investigators were told Foston would only work with Roundtree and if they made a wrong move, things could get ugly.

"You could tell the subject wanted help because he wouldn't have reached out if he didn't, so we just kept playing on the fact that we're going to provide him help," Roundtree said.

Investigators believed Foston was armed.

"He called his family several times and a lot of people started calling in and that made it kinda hard because you couldn't control the situation, so it got kind of volatile at times and at the time we were putting a lot of officers at risk being over the water like that," Roundtree said.

And those tense negotiations came to end live on News 12 Midday as investigators padded Foston down and learned he did not have a gun.

"And so we negotiated with him until we got a voluntary compliance and surrender that was peaceful," Gay said.

He's facing a number of charges and investigators say the railroad is contemplating adding criminal trespassing to that list. We're told he is also wanted out of Michigan.

Investigators say Foston's cousin is the one who called Roundtree instead of calling the Sheriff's Office. We're told he's an avid Roundtree for Sheriff supporter.

2 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- More details have been released about the incident on the Fifth Street bridge on Friday.

Lt. Richard Roundtree says he got a call from the suspect's cousin Friday morning saying the suspect, Yearby Foston, was wanted and was threatening suicide.

Roundtree was put on a three-way conversation to speak to the suspect and asked if he could meet them. He called the Sheriff's Office to coordinate the meeting.

Lt. Blaise Dresser says they had coordinated with Roundtree and Foston to negotiate a peaceful arrest. The suspect allegedly then took off and ran onto the bridge.

Roundtree says Foston said he would turn himself in to only Roundtree, and if they did anything, it would get ugly.

Roundtree says they talked for about an hour before he convinced Foston to surrender.

The cousin of the suspect is said to be an avid Roundtree supporter.


AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The man on the 5th Street bridge who was threatening to shoot himself has been taken into custody.

Family members at the scene are saying the man is Yearby Foston.

Foston was wanted for armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and criminal attempt rape.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to Guide One Insurance on the 2000 block of Peach Orchard Road in reference to a robbery on Thursday.

Upon arrival, deputies found a female employee with visible injuries to her head and face. She said Foston struck her in the head with a pistol and another object before forcing her to ground at gunpoint and making her take off her pants. She says when she refused, Foston hit her in the head while she was on the floor.

Officers say Foston took a laptop from the business and fled the scene.

Investigators have not confirmed the man on the bridge is Foston, but family members have.

The situation was originally referred to as a "hostage situation." Officers believed the man was holding someone at gunpoint.

Investigators say the man did not have a weapon on him when he was taken into custody.

Initial report:

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- News 12 has just learned there is a hostage situation ongoing near the 5th Street bridge.

Sources say the suspect is said to be holding someone hostage on the Georgia side of the river near Reynolds Street.

North Augusta dispatch has confirmed the Richmond County Sheriff's Office was chasing an armed robbery suspect. The suspect is cornered in the area near the railroad tracks.

News 12's reporter on the scene says an armed man is on the railroad trestle. He's pointing the gun at deputies and then the gun at himself.

ARC Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Byron Taylor says the water rescue team has been called to the marina to assist.

A picture of the scene.

A more zoomed in picture of the scene.

A picture of who we believe is the suspect (on the right), taken from our reporter's video camera.

Officers lining the streets of the 6th Street bridge monitoring the situation.

Officers on the scene monitoring the situation.

Officers on the scene monitoring the situation from the hill.

City Administrator Fred Russell at the scene.

The man on the bridge is taken into custody.

Hostage situation in downtown Augusta on 5th Street bridge. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 3, 2012)
Hostage situation in downtown Augusta on 5th Street bridge. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 3, 2012)