FBI Agent Kills Rainbow Farm Owner

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Sep 4, 2001.

  1. By Lou Mumford, Tribune Staff Writer
    Source: South Bend Tribune

    Grover T. “Tom” Crosslin’s standoff came to a deadly end Monday. The 47-year-old owner of Rainbow Farm Campground was fatally shot by an FBI agent about 4:40 p.m. EDT Monday, according to Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood.
    It was a grim ending for supporters of Crosslin, an advocate of marijuana legalization and personal rights, who was shot and killed on the perimeter of his 34-acre farm and establishment at 59896 Pemberton Road in Newberg Township.

    The shooting occurred on the fourth day of the standoff that had pitted Crosslin and two others — Brandon James Peoples, whose age and address were unavailable, and Rolland Rohm, 28, of Vandalia — against the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    The FBI had joined Cass County Sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police on Sunday.

    Underwood said Monday night at a police staging area about a mile from the farm that Crosslin had been shot and killed by an FBI agent whom he did not identify. Although Underwood said the shooting occurred Monday afternoon, he didn’t make the announcement until about 10:15 p.m. EDT.

    As a result, Crosslin’s supporters, some of whom had gathered only a short distance away from the staging area, weren’t aware he had been killed until they watched it on the evening TV news or heard it on the radio. When hearing the news, some screamed “murderers!”

    “This deal has hurt a lot of people ... a lot of people,” said Geary Albright, an Elkhart resident and boyfriend of Crosslin’s sister, Shirley DeWeese.

    The sheriff said efforts to negotiate directly with Crosslin to end the impasse looked promising Monday afternoon after he was given a telephone at his residence on the farm.

    But Underwood said Crosslin asked to speak with a third party at the outset of the negotiation, and he became enraged when authorities denied his request.

    He said Crosslin “made threatening remarks and gestures’’ before he terminated all efforts to negotiate and left the house with a rifle accompanied by Peoples. Upon leaving the house, Crosslin and Peoples were observed walking the perimeter of the residence with the weapon.

    “They approached an area where an FBI observer had been stationed, and upon seeing the FBI observer, Crosslin immediately raised the weapon to shoulder height and pointed it directly at the agent,’’ Underwood said.

    “At that moment, the FBI observer fired one round and fatally wounded Crosslin, with Brandon Peoples receiving minor injuries.’’

    Peoples was slightly injured during the incident, and was immediately grabbed by authorities on site.

    Rohm remained on the farm, and was still there negotiating with authorities early today.

    It wasn’t immediately clear whether Peoples would be charged with any crimes in the four-day standoff. Underwood said agents were still negotiating with Rohm for his possible surrender late Monday.

    Earlier Monday, supporters of Crosslin said they anticipated a violent end to the standoff, which began Friday when Crosslin allegedly torched two buildings on his property.

    “He’s (Crosslin) not going to give up. I know he won’t,’’ said Morel “Moses’’ Yonkers, of Elkhart. “I worked for him for 10 years. Trust me. I know.’’

    Yonkers was among more than a dozen supporters of Crosslin at a makeshift campsite at Michigan 60 and White Temple Road, about two miles from the farm.

    “I don’t think he’ll leave alive,’’ said Tommy Friend, a Cassopolis resident and an acquaintance of Crosslin who worked and stayed at his farm for two weeks.

    Albright had spoken earlier Monday as if he clearly anticipated a tragic outcome.

    ”I wish it hadn’t come down to this. He’s done a lot of good things for people,’’ Albright said. “He’s a good man.’’

    Crosslin’s father, Grover Crosslin, also of Vandalia, argued his son was non-violent, but stubborn.

    “If he believes in something, he’s going to carry it through,’’ he said. “This is about property rights .... It’s enough to cause a war.’’

    Crosslin advocated the legalization of marijuana. A Web site established by Crosslin after he purchased his farm and campground about 15 years ago touts “the medical, spiritual and responsible recreational use of marijuana for a more sane and compassionate America.’’

    A former Elkhart resident, he had a varied work life that ranged from driving trucks and installing flagpoles to remodeling houses.

    He was a history buff, buying a brick house built in 1807 that had once been a stop on the Underground Railroad with plans to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast. And he was a staunch civil libertarian, having painted a Elkhart house on Dr. King Drive neon peach and lime green as part of a dispute with city officials over building code enforcement standards.

    Vandalia Mayor Sondra Mose-Ursery said she knew Crosslin well and wasn’t surprised by his confrontation with authorities.

    “I figured it was going to happen, by the way he had talked about not wanting to go to jail for (doing) something he believed in,’’ she said. “He believes he should be able to do what he wants on his own property.’’

    She said she met Crosslin several years ago when he spent $2,000 on Christmas gifts for children in the village of Vandalia.

    All seemed well for Crosslin until May.

    That was when things began falling apart for the former Elkhart resident, who was arrested in May on drug charges.

    He was scheduled to appear in court Friday for a hearing to revoke his $150,000 bond. But instead he skipped the hearing and then allegedly set fire to buildings on his property, which he had stood to lose under the state’s Drug Forfeiture Act.

    Police said an anonymous telephone caller told them the fires were set “to ambush law enforcement officers when they arrived in response to the fire.’’

    It’s believed Crosslin, Rohm or Peoples or a combination of the three also fired shots at three aircraft that flew over the property. One of the aircraft, a helicopter used by WNDU-TV, Channel 16, South Bend, was damaged.

    On Monday, Crosslin had federal charges levied against him, resulting in the dispatch of FBI agents and a federal warrant against Crosslin on charges of attempted destruction of an aircraft and using a firearm to commit a felony. He was facing up to 30 years in prison if convicted of those.

    On the state criminal counts, Crosslin was charged with manufacturing marijuana, more than 200 plants, a 15-year felony; maintaining a drug house, a two-year misdemeanor; felony firearm, a two-year felony; and possession of a firearm by a felon, a five-year felony.

    Underwood said the show-cause petition and motion to revoke $150,000 bond for Crosslin grew out of a festival that was staged at the farm and campground Aug. 17 and 18.

    He said bond conditions specified no such activity was to take place at the farm, based on drug activities that allegedly took place at the events.

    Two more buildings were burned on the farm and campground, reportedly on Saturday. Underwood said the fires were set by Crosslin and not law enforcement.

    Rohm is charged with manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a drug house, and felony firearm.

    Tribune staff writer Jennifer Mack contributed to this report.

    Staff writer Lou Mumford: lmumford@sbtinfo.com

    Ph: (616) 687-7002

    Source: South Bend Tribune (IN)
    Author: Lou Mumford, Tribune Staff Writer
    Published: September 03, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 South Bend Tribune
    Contact: vop@sbtinfo.com
    Website: http://www.southbendtribune.com/

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