An El Dorado man remained in the Union County jail without bond Friday evening, hours after his first appearance in 35th Judicial District Court was halted and days after an arrest that involved SWAT teams from the El Dorado Police Department and Union County Sheriff’s Office.
A first appearance hearing was stopped for Eric L. Manning, 26, who declined to waive his rights to speak to an attorney or family members prior to Judge Jack Barker issuing a bond for the defendant.
Manning was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of threatening a judicial official, first-degree terroristic threatening and communicating a false alarm.
The situation unfolded Wednesday morning when El Dorado police received reports that Manning had become irate and issued terroristic threats while speaking on the phone to staff members at a local mental health services facility.
Capt. Scott Harwell, of the EPD’s Criminal Investigative Division, said Manning was reportedly angry because his benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance program had been denied.
“They said he threatened to cause harm to himself and shoot the judge and his kids and blow up the (Union County Courthouse),” Harwell said.
He said Manning did not specify a judge in the alleged threats.
Concerned about Manning’s well-being, the complainants asked officers to conduct a welfare check at Manning’s residence on Cargile Y.
Harwell said officers arrived at Manning’s residence moments later, but Manning refused to open the door and spoke to officers through the door and windows of his residence.
He again called the mental health facility and issued more terroristic threats after asking staff members why they sent police to his residence, Harwell said.
Referring to his disability benefits, Manning also issued terroristic threats against a local federal office building, police said.
Harwell said the EPD then secured the courthouse and the federal building against which Manning had allegedly issued the terroristic threats.
After interviewing the complainants, Harwell said officers reconvened at EPD headquarters to consider possible charges against Manning and to come up with a plan to deal with the situation.
Harwell said officers subsequently obtained arrest and search warrants for Manning, discussed several options on the best and safest way to execute the warrants and coordinated SWAT teams from the EPD and UCSO before heading to Manning’s residence at approximately 1:45 p.m.
“We tried a few different things that didn’t work out so the only true option we had was to take the SWAT team. We developed an operation plan and assembled a whole team,” Harwell said, adding that the operation was coordinated by the CID, SWAT commanders and Police Chief Kenny Hickman.
Harwell also noted that the EPD asked the sheriff’s office for assistance because several officers with the EPD’s SWAT team were participating in a law enforcement training course in Tennessee.
Upon arriving at Manning’s residence, officers used a public address system to announce themselves and issue commands to Manning, Harwell said.
He said Manning complied with commands to exit the residence with his hands up and he was taken into custody without incident minutes later.
Officers then searched Manning’s residence and did not find any weapons, bomb-making materials, illegal narcotics or any other illicit items, Harwell said.
Manning was transported to Medical Center of South Arkansas for a medical evaluation. He was released a short time later and transported to the Union County jail, where he remained Friday evening.
His first appearance hearing was rescheduled for Monday in district court.