Reporter Notebook: Everyday threats to law enforcement | Crime
SALISBURY - Some of the dangers faced by law enforcement officers aren't always known to the general public. There are situations that occur nearly everyday where a police officer or deputy is in a potentially life threatening situation.
Most of these cases don't make the news, thankfully, because the situation is resolved without harm. In other cases the stories aren't reported because there are other circumstances, such as mental issues that prevent suspects from being identified.
One such case took place this weekend in Rowan County. It was resolved peacefully thanks to the training, common sense, and experience of the deputy involved.
Here's the story, with the names left out, because of the apparent mental impairment suffered by the suspect in the case.
On Sunday night a Rowan County Sheriff's deputy was fueling his car at the Wilco-Hess on S. Main Street, south of Salisbury. That deputy was approached by a man who was very upset. He told the deputy that there was a man with a gun standing next to the store, threatening to shoot someone.
The deputy looked and did see a group of three people standing next to the wall of the store. While two in the group faced the deputy, the third had his back to him, and the deputy could see that the man had a silver .357 Taurus handgun, similar to the one pictured above. The deputy pulled his gun and ordered the man to put the gun down and to get down on his knees. According to the report, the man turned slowly and did exactly what the deputy told him to do. Within minutes additional deputies and officers from the Salisbury Police Department arrived at the store.
Once the various stories unfolded from the man with the gun and the other people involved, it turned out that the man with the gun had become upset during a card game with the man who first reported the situation to the deputy. The man with the gun told his friend that he had been cheated out of money in a card game, and that he wanted it back, so he followed him to the store, gun in hand.
The deputy was able to determine that the man with the gun had mental issues. The gun belonged to one of his family members. She arrived at the store and told the deputy she didn't know how the man had gotten the gun.
In the end, no one was charged with a crime. The man who felt threatened declined to press charges. The deputy encouraged the family of the man with the gun to seek help for him.
So there it is, a potentially very dangerous situation diffused by the work of Rowan County Deputy Shoemaker, and the things is, it's not a particularly rare occurrence.