Knox County Sheriff’s Office identifies suspect from armed standoff

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knox County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man taken into custody by a S.W.A.T. team after he barricaded himself into a West Knoxville church on Thursday.

Deputies attempted to serve an assault warrant on 32-year-old Anatolie Racila around 11 a.m. when he barricaded himself inside a church under construction near Ball Camp Pike and Schaad Road. Documents show the warrant was issued after he allegedly threatened to kill a Knox County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Officer who was investigating the care of certain animals by Racila’s father in July.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies had been speaking with Racila on the phone and he had agreed to meet. The suspect told officers he had a gun on him and was advised to leave it in his car.

When officers made contact with Racila and advised him they had a warrant for his arrest, the officer said he pulled away from them and reached for his gun. Officers told him they would shoot if he pulled out the weapon.

Racila left the gun in his pocket and ran into the side door of the church, barricading himself in a maintenance room. Negotiators and S.W.A.T. personnel responded and took him into custody.

Amherst Elementary School was on lockdown as a precaution while authorities apprehended Racila. Assistant Chief Deputy Wesley Norris said every precaution was taken to keep those who live around the area safe.

“We don’t believe there was any danger at all. We put the school on lockdown just as a precaution because of the close proximity of the church where he was barricaded. He was completely surrounded so he wasn’t coming out of the church. We knew there was no one in the church as far as workers go, so we felt comfortable knowing that he was the only one in there.”

Racila faces charges of assault, threat of bodily harm, resisting arrest and evading arrest. He will be arraigned Thursday, Aug. 26 in Knox County Criminal Court.

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