A Bridgeport man whose alleged actions resulted in two Decatur schools going on lockdown and ended after a standoff with a SWAT team Tuesday morning received multiple criminal charges Wednesday.
James Warden, 43, was charged with aggravated assault against a public servant, a third-degree felony, and terroristic threat, a class B misdemeanor, by the Bridgeport Police Department. He was booked into Wise County Jail with a $10,000 bond for the assault charge and a $2,500 bond for terroristic threat. Warden posted and as released Friday afternoon from Wise County Jail.
Tuesday morning, Warden barricaded himself in a home in the 300 block of Graben Lane in Airport Estates in Bridgeport, after issuing threats on social media against his wife, an employee at Carson Elementary, and their son, who is a student at Decatur High School. Both schools were locked down until mid-morning when Warden finally gave himself up after a standoff with officers at the home where he had been staying.
The assault charge stems from Warden allegedly pointing a rifle at a location outside the home, in the direction he thought Bridgeport police were located and pulling the trigger multiple times according to Bridgeport Asst. Police Chief Steve Stanford.
“During the process, at least six time he pointed the gun in the area where he thought we were and pulled the trigger,” Stanford said. “He threatened homicide to an officer.”
But the weapon wasn’t loaded. Stanford said he probably had another idea in mind.
“He wanted one of us to shoot him,” Stanford said. “We call it ‘suicide by cop.'”
Before officers ever arrived, Warden had declared he was “ready to shoot it out” with law enforcement. When Bridgeport police executed a search warrant after Warden’s arrest, they confiscated a small arsenal including 10 rifles, three handguns and plenty of ammunition.
Warden eventually gave himself up without a fight.
“It was a long process,” Stanford said. “We didn’t want to rush the scene. It was a good job by everybody involved.”
Afterwards Warden was taken to North Texas Community Hospital for an evaluation. He was also reported to be heavily intoxicated.
His only run-in with the Bridgeport Police prior to this incident was a citation for possession of K2, synthetic marijuana.
If found guilty, Warden could receive two to 10 years for the assault charge, and up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine for the terroristic threat.
Warden could also face at least one additional charge from Decatur Police Department relating to the threats and the school lockdowns.
“We’re in the process of doing an investigation,” said Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins. “We’re trying to get more statements and trying to get some more text messages.”
Since Warden’s estranged wife works in Decatur, and was there at the time some of the threats were allegedly made, he could receive terroristic threat charge there as well.
“Our main concern isn’t criminal charges,” Hoskins said. “We just want (Warden) to get mental health help right now. We think that mental issues and substance abuse are the reason behind this.
“If he bails out there will be some people concerned that he’ll do this again. We want him to get help. We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”