Police Surround EconoLodge in Gorman

  • A California Highway Patrol officer and a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy take positions around the motel in Gorman, before the SWAT team arrived. [Meyer photos]

    A California Highway Patrol officer and a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy take positions around the motel in Gorman, before the SWAT team arrived. [Meyer photos]

Reported by Gary Meyer and Katy Penland, updates written by Patric Hedlund
Thank you to the CBS affiliate KCTV 5 in Kansas City, Kansas for their assistance with a portion of these reports.

UPDATE (Friday, June 12, 2009, 9 a.m.)—The L.A. County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Darren Harris said in an interview at 8:45 p.m. last night that he made an error in his initial assumption that alleged murderer Franklin Grammer had shot himself. Medical examination revealed that Grammer was unconscious due to a self-administered medication and had a wound on the torso from an L.A. County Sheriff’s Canine Unit dog. The dog had been sent in after tear gas canisters were shot into the room and there was no response to deputies’ calls for Grammer to come out. The Kansas City man is receiving medical care at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. He is recovering, according to Harris.

According to a legal document acquired by The Mountain Enterprise, Grammer’s wife, Betty, submitted a Petition For Protective Order on May 21, in Oklahoma. It said Grammer had threatened to kill her and burn her clothing. She also indicated in the petition that he had choked her and beat her head against the floor. She wrote in the petition, "He has been constantly calling me and threatening me. He told me when he gets home I’m going to have hell to pay." She is said to have moved from Ada, Oklahoma to Kansas City, Kansas in fear that he would follow through on the violent threats. A Kansas murder warrant was issued for Grammer on June 9, 2009. Grammer [see photo below] allegedly shot his wife in the head and fled the state.

A California Highway Patrol officer’s license plate scan in the Gorman EconoLodge parking lot (just off the Interstate 5 on the Grapevine) at about 7 a.m. on Thursday, June 11 led to the discovery that Grammer was registered and paid for room 123 of the motel. That led to the series of events that are reported here. Read the hour-to-hour bulletins from the bottom of the page below to see how the situation developed. A complete report, including the experiences of guests evacuated from the motel during the six-hour event, will be printed in next week’s issue of The Mountain Enterprise.

UPDATE (Thursday, June 11, 2009, 3:36 p.m.) —A man has been brought out of the EconoLodge Motel in Gorman on a gurney. Reporters were told that he is suffering from a self-inflicted bullet wound to the torso. Onlookers heard four shots which law enforcement said were noise diversion devices. He was taken by helicopter for medical aid. SWAT snipers have come off the hill.

Reporters were told that there was no phone contact with the subject for two hours before officers went in. They had broken the windows of his truck to search it.

Correcting an earlier report, "What we were hearing earlier is ‘Come out with your hands up,’ rather than someone actually coming out," Reporter Katy Penland said. This appears to bring to a close the incident that began about 7 a.m. this morning. The reporter at the scene is awaiting a statement from Public Information Officer Darren Harris.

UPDATE (Thursday, June 11, 2009, 12:27 p.m.)—As we are placing this update, an individual is coming out of the EconoLodge in Gorman with their hands up. Our reporter was in the midst of relaying a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office when this occurred.

The Mountain Enterprise has been told that a California Highway Patrol officer was driving through the motel parking lot this morning surveying license plates when an inquiry came back positive for a murder warrant from Kansas City, Kansas dated June 8, 2009.

Franklin Grammer is the suspect. He is believed to be armed with a hand gun. The victim was his wife. The CHP officer confirmed with management of the motel that the suspect named is registered at the hotel in room 123.

Franklin Grammer

After containing the location, the officer sought assistance from the Santa Clarita substation of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Office. Officers requested the suspect to exit his room, but he refused, and barricaded himself inside the room.

A tipster relayed to The Mountain Enterprise at 12:26 p.m. that Grammer is "wanted for shooting his wife in the head in Kansas….He has two small dogs with him. The suspect is waiting for his daughter [from] San Diego to come up. He says he wants to give her the dogs and then surrender peacefully. If the police try anything before then, [he says] he will commit suicide."

UPDATE: (Thursday, June 11, 2009, 11:53 a.m.)—Los Angeles County Sheriff’s SWAT team members arrived at the scene at about 10 a.m. and began suiting up. The name "Frank" was heard on a police scanner in reference to the suspect inside the motel. A source at the scene indicated "the man holed up is a murder suspect." No official sources at the scene can comment at this time, but reporters were told that a Public Information Officer (PIO) for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Office will be here as soon as the scene is secured.

GORMAN, Calif. (Thursday, June 11, 2009, 9:53 a.m.)—Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers have surrounded and cordoned off the EconoLodge in Gorman, just off the Grapevine section of the Interstate 5. Residents have been evacuated from the motel and are being held in the area of the Chevron station just off the Interstate-5 offramp. Area residents have also been evacuated. Cones have been placed to block access to the area. Witnesses report that deputies with drawn guns are in position around the area. "Every cop in the world is here," one witness said,"but no SWAT team has arrived yet."

A reporter for The Mountain Enterprise said there had been radio chatter about an alleged murder at the motel.

Further details and photos will be posted shortly.

No Kern County Sheriff’s units have been dispatched at this time.


This is part of the June 12, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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