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Man, 107, Dies In Shootout With Police

A 107-year-old Arkansas man who held off police is dead after a SWAT team stormed a house during a reported exchange of gunfire on Saturday afternoon.

Police officers had arrived at the house in Pine Bluff, Ark., to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. They spoke with two people, who said Monroe Isadore had pointed a gun at them. Isadore was in his bedroom, they said.

"When officers identified themselves to the suspect he shot at them through the door but no officer was injured. Police then asked for backup," reports KATV.

Negotiations failed to bring Isadore out of the bedroom; a miniature camera inserted into the room confirmed that he had a weapon, police say.

A statement from the Pine Bluff Police Department that was posted online by KTHV 11 News describes what happened next:

"S.W.A.T. inserted gas into the room, after it was evident negotiations were unsuccessful, in hopes Isadore would surrender peacefully. When the gas was inserted into the room, Isadore fired rounds at the S.W.A.T. officers that had inserted the gas from outside a bedroom window.

"Shortly afterwards, a S.W.A.T. entry team, inside the residence, breached the door to the bedroom and threw a distraction device into the bedroom. Isadore then began to fire on the entry team and the entry team engaged Isadore, killing him."

Isadore was pronounced dead just before 7:30 p.m. — about three hours after the incident began, according to the The Pine Bluff Commercial newspaper. No police officers were injured. Police say their investigation is continuing.

While deadly gunplay involving a centenarian is unusual, violent crime is not a rarity in Pine Bluff. In fact, the town of just under 50,000 residents made international headlines earlier this year because of its crime problem.

Citing a murder rate that is roughly seven times the U.S. average per person, Britain's The Independent called Pine Bluff "the most dangerous little town in America."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.