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Man in custody after police standoff at Motel 6 off US 129
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Gainesville police respond to a standoff with a man reported to be armed at the Motel 6 off Monroe Drive in Gainesville. - photo by NAT GURLEY

A Tuesday standoff with police at the Motel 6 off U.S. 129 attracted dozens of law enforcement responders and bystanders but ended peacefully after about three hours.

"Safe and sound," police spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said. "The subject is safe and sound."

Justin Talton, 31, is charged with terroristic threats, criminal damage to property and reckless conduct, Cpl. Joe Britte said. He was booked in the Hall County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon.

Holed up in his hotel room, Talton was armed with a handgun and shotgun and a family member had told police he was distraught, Britte said.

"A family member had called in that they had some concerns about his well being, and we went off that," he said. Tuesday evening it was still unclear exactly what the man’s motivation was. Britte said he "basically snapped."

A call to dispatch at 9:27 a.m. made by a bail bondsmen who used to employ Talton, initially alerted authorities to the situation.

It was a "scary incident," Britte said. Talton fired shots at police at one point, but no officer was struck or injured.

The alarming scene piqued the interest of several local residents, from store owners to pedestrians to truck drivers just passing through.

One man and woman peered at the motel from the median of 129 as cars sped by, many slowing down at the sight of 20-plus law enforcement vehicles.

A well-equipped Georgia Bureau of Investigation vehicle was on scene a little after an hour of the first responding Gainesville Police officers.

K-9 and criminal investigative units were on scene as well, and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office lent bodies to the effort.

But a flood of relief followed the growing police response.

"Investigators and hostage negotiators did an awesome job bringing this situation to an end, peacefully," Britte said. "It was a scary incident, but it was rather well performed by our local agencies."

After surrendering, Talton was transported to a local hospital, Britte said, before being taken to the jail.