11/24/2004

Accused of fraud CEO kills himself during standoff w/ police

Accused of election fraud CEO kills himself during standoff w/ police

WOODTV.com & WOOD TV8 - Grand Rapids news and weather - CyberNET Group CEO kills himself during standoff

Update, Ada Township, November 24, 2004, 6:19 p.m.) Barton Watson was found dead in his home after being involved in a standoff with police.

The incident follows a federal investigation of The CyberNET Group in Grand Rapids that began last week involving a massive fraud probe. Sources tell 24 Hour News 8 the investigation is far from over and involves several other people besides Watson.

The company's CEO barricaded himself inside his home on Mountain Ridge Drive in Ada Township overnight. Deputies thought they had Watson talked into surrendering, but instead the incident came to a violent end.

Approximately 12:08 am, 911 dispatchers got a call from Watson, and deputies say he threatened suicide.

When officers arrived at his home, they used an intercom at the gate to try to get him out. "All you have to do is come outside without a gun in your hand, okay?” said a Kent County Sheriff Deputy. "I don't have a gun,” said Watson.

For the next several hours, negotiators remained in contact with Watson. Shots were heard with the first one around 1 a.m., and the next a few minutes later.

Still, deputies were optimistic Watson was still talking... just before 4 a.m., they believed they had talked Watson into giving up. But then around 3:50 a.m., they heard another gunshot and lost contact with Watson.

Watson was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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