Huntsville police catch armed suspect in Hays Nature Preserve

Chevey Swinford

Huntsville police say Swinford is now in custody. He is charged with domestic violence third-degree.

Posted: Apr 4, 2019 12:01 AM
Updated: Apr 4, 2019 5:15 PM

9:10 a.m. UPDATE: Huntsville police say Swinford is now in custody.

8:55 a.m. UPDATE: Lt. Michael Johnson, Huntsville police spokesman, said Swinford should still be in the preserve.

A city of Huntsville worker spotted him and called police.

Swinford is not believed to be a danger to the public, Johnson said.

Police located a shotgun and a small firearm in the woods, but Johnson said it cannot be assumed Swinford is unarmed.

The woman he was with was checked out by a medical team and is now in custody. She may have prior warrants. Police have not released her name.

Johnson said the Jackson County Sheriff's Office is part of the case. Swinford has a criminal history in Jackson County.

Jackson County records show traffic violations along with possession of marijuana which he did plead guilty to, possession of controlled substances, and drug paraphernalia.

Swinford was sentenced to a year in jail in September 2018.

8:23 a.m. UPDATE: Hampton Cove elementary and middle schools and  Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary School all are operating on secure perimeter during the nearby police search, said Keith Ward, Huntsville City Schools spokesperson.

Huntsville police say a K9 unit in en route to help in the search for Swinford.

8:02 a.m. UPDATE: Huntsville police updated information to say they have seen Chevey Swinford in Hays Nature Preserve but he ran off before they could apprehend him. They have located the woman he was with and have her in custody.

7:39 a.m. UPDATE: According to an officer on the scene, Huntsville police believe the Chevey Swinford and the woman he was with are no longer in Hays Nature Preserve.

However, some officers remain on the scene as of 8 a.m.

A helicopter with infrared technology scanned for body heat signatures and found none, said police. Police believe they left the area. The car they were in has been towed.

The preserve is open to the public.

UPDATE: After calling off the search last night, police say they will resume the search Thursday morning.

UPDATE: Huntsville Police have identified the suspect as 37-year-old Chevey Swinford. 

From Wednesday night:

Huntsville police are currently searching for a suspect with a gun inside Hays Nature Preserve. According to police the man is with a woman inside the preserve. 

Police told WAAY 31 someone called 911 around 8:30 p.m. saying there was a domestic dispute between a man and woman at the EXXON on U.S. 431 near Sutton Rd. When police arrived they could not find the altercation. The person called back an hour and a half later and told police the dispute had moved to Hays Nature Preserve. 

When police arrived at the preseve they spoke to a woman involved who said she was the man's ex-girlfriend. She told police he had a gun and was inside the preserve with another woman. As police started their search they heard several gun shots come from the woods inside the preserve. Right now, roughly two dozen law enforcement officers from multiple agencies are searching for the man and the person he is with. 

A helicopter, police dogs, and the SWAT team are assisting officers in the search. WAAY 31 is on the scene working to learn more information on the search. Once we find out more we will keep you updated on air and online.

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