Updated: Jun 15
By: James Clark, Editor for the Southern Standard
A McMinnville man with a lengthy criminal record was shot and killed during an armed standoff Thursday night in DeKalb County.
Gregorio Cruz Vanloo, 28, was killed when he reportedly drew a gun on officers with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and Smithville Police Department. No one else was injured.
The shooting took place at a home on Todd Road.
“When we arrived on the scene, Vanloo was on the front porch threatening the officers and then he drew down on them with a handgun,” said DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray in an interview with WJLE. “After an exchange of gunfire with officers, Vanloo was wounded. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to Ascension Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital where he was pronounced dead.”
According to Dwayne Page of WJLE, DeKalb County officers spent the day searching for Vanloo, who was a suspect in an incident where shots were fired in the parking lot of Los Lobos Mexican Restaurant on Thursday morning.
Vanloo was reportedly a passenger in a car in the Los Lobos parking lot. He was traveling with a woman who was dropping off her brother to work at the restaurant.
As they were in the parking lot, the woman’s former boyfriend pulled in. He had been harassing her and she had an order of protection against him.
Vanloo reportedly pulled a handgun and fired two shots into the man’s SUV. He wasn’t hit and drove to the back of the restaurant, parked, and ran inside through a back door.
The vehicle with Vanloo left the area and Vanloo asked to be dropped off in the Midway community. The woman returned to Smithville and her car was soon spotted by officers. She told them she had dropped Vanloo off in Midway.
DeKalb County officers began their search for Vanloo in that area and nearby residents were alerted to the threat of an armed and dangerous man by reverse 911 calls. Tips started to be received from residents in that area about Vanloo.
“While we were searching, a call came in that someone had spotted a man fitting the description of our suspect getting into a red Toyota, driven by another man later identified as Gregory Michael Patton, at the corner of Evins Mill Road and Highway 70,” said Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins. “According to the witness, the suspect got into the rear seat and laid down.”
The car traveled back to Smithville. County and city officers later spotted a red Toyota matching the description on Highland Avenue in Smithville and when they approached the car it sped away resulting in a pursuit which eventually made its way to Short Mountain Road and into Cannon County where the driver finally pulled over on Jim Cummings Highway near the Coffee County line.
During the chase, which at times exceeded speeds of 100 mph, officers with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Cannon County Sheriff’s Departments, Woodbury Police Department, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol assisted.
Patton was charged with reckless endangerment, evading arrest, and driving under the influence. He was also cited for possession of schedule II and V drugs (meth and Gabapentin).
Following the chase, officers received a tip Vanloo was at the home on Highland Avenue where the pursuit began but upon arriving there after the tip, they discovered Vanloo had already left.
“During our search of the home, we found our suspect’s backpack,” said Chief Collins. “There was also a large amount of methamphetamine in the backpack. We had information earlier that Vanloo had two weapons on him at the time of the shooting at Los Lobos and we found one of the weapons among his belongings at this residence on Highland Avenue. He also had a police scanner so we knew he could monitor our movements while we were out trying to catch him.”
After reports came in about a man matching Vanloo’s description on foot in the area of Florence and White Ford, another reverse 911 call was used for that area.
“Calls came in from people who saw men walking that matched the description and we began following up on all of those leads. We even had a call reporting someone in the bushes by Walmart. Both city and county agencies responded but it turned out not to be him. Walmart was put on lock down for a long time during that period,” said Chief Collins.
Later after receiving another tip, officers converged at the residence on Toad Road where Vanloo was found and confronted.
Vanloo has a lengthy criminal record in Warren County.
In October 2019, he was sentenced to serve 180 days in jail for possession of meth. In January 2019, he received 10 days for aggravated criminal trespassing.
In February 2018, he received 180 days of an eight-year sentence for delivery of meth in a school zone. In January 2015, Vanloo received one year for assault and criminal impersonation, claiming he was his twin brother.