A situation originally believed to be a man barricaded inside a business has ended after authorities learned it was actually a civil dispute.
Officials with the Murfreesboro Police Department said they were called to the scene around 7 a.m. Wednesday at the H3O Aquatics business near Robert Rose Drive, located just off Old Fort Parkway.
Sgt. Kyle Evans with Murfreesboro Police said they had initially been told Keith Van De Castle had locked himself inside the business. No one else was inside with him.
Authorities were also told threats had been made by Van De Castle that someone may be harmed or the business may be burned. Officials have confirmed they learned this information was not true.
Van De Castle remained locked inside the building hours later. He said he took the drastic step to protect the company he started, and wasn't aware police were involved.
"When everyone was here in the parking lot, I was taking a nap," said Van De Castle. "I apologize. I there were 10 fans going and I didn’t hear anything. I’m sorry that it took so much time from police where they could have been doing much more useful things. That’s my biggest regret."
Wednesday afternoon, Sgt. Evans confirmed they found out Van De Castle was the franchise owner who has been in a legal dispute with the franchisee. The dispute also involved the landowners.
The issue was being litigated in court.
Due to a clause in the contracts for both the franchise agreement and the landowner agreement, the franchise owner has permission to take possession of the business should there be any financial problems with the business.
Due to the civil matter between three parties and the clause, Sgt. Evans said, "The individual that is inside the business has every legal right to be there, and there is no legal recourse for us to evict that person from the business."
The owner, Michael Burrows, said Van De Castle showed up early Wednesday morning and changed all of the locks on the building.
"He has locked himself in there because he has done lots of similar crazy things to try and ruin the business and take it over," said Burrows.
When employees came to work, they found him barricaded inside.
Officials said the franchisee owner, Burrows, was expected to try to take the business back, but authorities added they were advising against that seeing as it was a civil dispute and only court orders could be enforced.
Robert Rose Drive was blocked while officials remain on the scene. Authorities said they had to take the initial information they received seriously to keep the public from any harm.
Sgt. Evans confirmed the investigation remained open. No charges had been filed, but they had not been completely ruled out.
Sgt. Evans was unable to estimate the cost of the police response.
Van De Castle said he intended to stay inside the business until the matter was resolved.
"I will be here at Christmas, if that's what it takes."