Newshawk: Stop The Killing
Pubdate: Tue, 04 Sep 2001
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Copyright: 2001 Associated Press
Author: Dee-Ann Durbin
NEIGHBORS, FRIENDS SHOCKED BY PAIR'S VIOLENT DEATHS
VANDALIA, Mich. (AP) -- Neighbors of the two men killed in a standoff with
police at a campground where marijiuana use was condoned recalled the pair
Tuesday as peaceful and generous and were stunned by their violent deaths.
Grover "Tom" Crosslin, 47, owner of Rainbow Farm, was fatally shot by an
FBI agent Monday night after a standoff that began Friday. Rolland Rohm,
28, who lived with Crosslin, was shot by police Tuesday morning on the
Police said both were shot after pointing weapons at law enforcement officers.
During the standoff, police said it appeared a house and four main
buildings on the campground property were burned. Authorities also said
Crosslin shot a news helicopter as it flew overhead Friday. Shots also were
fired at an unmarked state police plane Saturday but missed, police said.
Both aircraft landed safely without injuries.
Authorities arrested Crosslin and five others in May after a two-year
investigation into allegations of marijuana use at the 34-acre campground.
Crosslin was charged with felony possession of a firearm, growing marijuana
and maintaining a drug house.
A third man at the campground, Brandon J. Peoples, was walking with
Crosslin and suffered minor injuries when Crosslin was shot. Authorities
questioned Peoples but did not take him into custody.
Buzz Daily, 44, a Cass County farmer, said Crosslin and Rohm were known for
their generosity. At Christmas, he said, they would drive their pickup
truck into Vandalia and distribute gifts throughout the town of about 350
residents. They also would buy food and clothes for people staying at the
campground, he said.
"I am heartbroken," Daily said. "I don't think they went into this trying
to hurt anyone."
Daily and others said they weren't sure what would happen to Rainbow Farm.
But he urged those who support marijuana legalization to come to the
funerals for Crosslin and Rohm. Funeral arrangements had not been
determined on Tuesday afternoon, Rohm's family said.
Daily also lashed out at police, saying he could not imagine Crosslin or
Rohm brandishing a weapon.
"I'm surprised that with all the money (police) put into this, they didn't
have any non-lethal means of resolving this," said Daily, who said he'd
known the pair for about five years and attended several HempAid festivals
at the campground.
Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Risko defended police actions and said Rohm
was repeatedly ordered to put down his gun.
"In each occasion both subjects pointed firearms at officers, and I don't
know what else you would have officers do," Risko said.
The FBI has said little about the standoff. Crosslin was shot by a federal
agent, Rohm by state police.
Special Agent Dawn Clenney said officials were investigating and still did
not know what sparked the standoff.
FBI and state police investigators planned to spend Tuesday night outside
the campground. "It's a big crime scene out there," Clenney said. "We've
got a lot to do."
Rohm's stepfather, John Livermore, said he and Rohm's mother drove all
night from Tennessee to try to help police negotiate, but were never
allowed to speak to Rohm.
Livermore said he believes Rohm left the house because he thought police
were going to allow him to see his 12-year-old son, Robert.
"He was slow, he was easy-led. He had a learning disability and he trusted
them," Livermore said.
Livermore said Crosslin and Rohm had been living together for about 11 years.
The standoff began Friday when deputies went to the farm after neighbors
said Crosslin was burning buildings on his property. Police said they
believe Crosslin was upset about a Friday hearing to revoke his bond.
Police allege he violated an order prohibiting him from holding a festival,
prompting the bond hearing.
Rohm's son was put into foster care in Cass County one or two months after
the May arrests, said Rohm's and Crosslin's attorney, Dori Leo. Rohm also
faced criminal charges, although it wasn't clear Tuesday afternoon whether
he was among those arrested in May.
Leo said Crosslin was upset that Rohm's son had been removed.
Local, state and federal officials were still at the campground Tuesday
afternoon. A bomb squad also was on the scene, but Risko said no bombs had
been found. Police had suspected the property was booby- trapped.
"The house is still smoldering so it will be a few days before we get the
investigation part of it done," Risko said.
Vandalia is about 30 miles northeast of South Bend, Ind., in southwest
Michigan. A historical marker in the town park describes Vandalia as a
one-time junction on the Underground Railroad. Slaves escaping through
Illinois and Indiana were taken in by local Quakers, who guided the slaves
east into Canada.
According to the Rainbow Farm's Web site, Crosslin bought the property
about 15 years ago with the idea of supporting, "the medical, spiritual and
responsible recreational uses of marijuana for a more sane and
The farm includes shower and bathroom facilities, a coffee bar called The
Joint and a hemp-themed gift shop. Each year it hosts two festivals called
HempAid and RoachRoast, according to the Web site.
A court order issued in June prohibited Crosslin from having festival
gatherings at the farm. Police allege he violated the order by holding a
festival August 17-18, which prompted the bond hearing.
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