‘I didn’t want my house to be shot up’; witness describes hourslong standoff in Saraland

The witness says the suspect’s erratic behavior began long before the standoff on Friday
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 10:06 PM CDT
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SARALAND, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News is continuing to follow up on an intense standoff in Saraland on Friday night that ended peacefully.

Authorities say a man barricaded himself inside his home, firing at deputies throughout the evening.

FOX10 News spoke to a resident in the area who wants to remain anonymous. She says normally the intersection of Cleveland Road and McKeough Avenue is peaceful.

“You could smell the tear gas and the tear gas sounds like gunshots when it goes off but it makes a big boom. I just didn’t want my house to get shot up,” she stated. “We came home about a little before 2, showered, went and got something to eat, came back and we couldn’t get home. We heard gunfire- we got maybe four houses down from our house. That was probably about 6 or so.”

Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch says the standoff lasted nearly eight hours.

FOX10 News spoke to Sheriff Burch on scene during the standoff. He said deputies were called out to the house on a probate pick-up order stemming from a domestic violence situation.

Investigators say the suspect, Christopher Cavette, barricaded himself in his home and opened fire on deputies several times.

“The pick-up order was requested by Saraland PD, stemming from a domestic situation and there have been threats to law enforcement. Neighbors have been complaining about him out in the backyard and front yard shooting,” stated Sheriff Burch.

The resident says Cavette started acting erratically a couple weeks ago.

“About two weeks ago, he started shooting up in the air. It sounded like a .22 one time. It sounded like a shotgun and he would just shoot straight up in the air about 1 or 2 in the morning. So we’d call Saraland and get them to come out, and they would come out and tell him to stop. The next night, he’d do the same thing. The other neighbors would call,” she said.

She says her greatest fear was that someone passing through the area would get shot or caught in cross-fire.

“Saraland Elementary School is right down the street,” she added. “We have Shiloh Baptist Church who has homeschools. You also have the Methodist Church who has the daycare. This is the thoroughfare for all the ambulances, all the police cars and all the school busses. Kids walk home, too.”

During the stand-off, deputies tried to negotiate with Cavette peacefully.

“We’ve deployed an enormous amount of gas in order to flush him out,” said Sheriff Burch. “I’ve never seen anyone take this amount of gas without any kind of protection.”

“He appeared to be extremely intoxicated,” he added.

Sheriff Burch says eventually, deputies were able to get Cavette out. No one was hurt in the process/

“Anytime we don’t have to take action by firing at someone, it is better,” said Sheriff Burch.

Meanwhile, the resident says she and her fellow neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief at last.

“I don’t want him back because I don’t know what he’ll do,” she said. “I think law enforcement did an excellent job. Nobody got hurt, nobody got shot. Even though it took that long length of time, no lives were lost.”

According to Sheriff Burch, any charges Cavette could face are determined by probate court. Sheriff Burch says Cavette is currently in a probate facility.