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Man dies after NC police, FBI respond to hours-long standoff at apartment complex

FBI agents and law enforcement officers work the scene of a standoff at Tryon Villages apartments on Feb. 22, 2023, in Cary, North Carolina. (Travis Long/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

A man died Wednesday night following a standoff with law enforcement that lasted more than 19 hours at an apartment complex, Cary police Chief Terry Sult said.

The man died by suicide after barricading himself in an apartment Wednesday afternoon as the standoff that started late Tuesday continued into Wednesday evening.

“He was in a dark place and was struggling to come out of that,” Sult said. “It was very very tough on the negotiators involved.”

An 11-year-old boy, identified by Sult as the man’s son, suffered minor gunshot wounds before he was released to authorities Wednesday morning. The boy was hospitalized and is in “very good” condition, authorities said. Sult said Wednesday night he would be released to family.

Before 6:30 p.m., several booms were heard in the Windsor apartments at Tryon Village complex near Walnut Street as the standoff entered its 19th hour.

Sult identified the noise as a “distraction device” but said police did not enter the apartment until after the man died.

The standoff began Tuesday around 11 p.m. when Cary police responded to the complex for a wellness check. The man who initiated the standoff is believed to be having a mental health crisis and has threatened to harm himself, according to police. His name has not been released.

Hostage negotiators were able to get him to release the boy Tuesday morning, about 10 a.m. The boy suffered minor gunshot injuries to his arm and neck, Sult said.

The chief said he did not know of previous calls for police service to the apartment.

“The situation has now changed … from focusing on the hostage situation to focusing on crisis intervention,” Sult said at around 1 p.m.. “There is still some risk to the public in the nearby area here.”

At least two dozen first responders were at the apartment complex Wednesday afternoon, including an armored vehicle. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the FBI and other agencies were on the scene.

The FBI took over the negotiations, the chief said.

“We believe it’s progressing,” Sult said in an update after 3 p.m. “As long as we have a good dialogue going on, we feel it’s progressing.”

The complex is located off of Walnut Street, between Dillard Drive and Tryon Road. It’s south of Cary Crossroads shopping center.

Starting at 4 a.m. Wednesday, alerts went to 201 residents who had opted in to the ReadyWake alert system, authorities said, urging them to stay in their residences.

Alerts went out again at 6:30 a.m. and then 9:30 a.m.

The 9:30 a.m. told those residents that the situation was still active and ongoing.

Some apartment residents were evacuated, and a perimeter was set up around the scene.

School and law enforcement officials worked out a plan to drop off students returning home to the complex Wednesday afternoon at a different location.

“I’m concerned about schoolkids getting out,” Sult said earlier. “I’m concerned about those walking their dogs.”

Resident Pamela McKoy said she didn’t know what was happening she returned home until around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday and police told her she couldn’t get back home. She lives across from the apartment building on Woodfield Lake Road that was surrounded by law enforcement.

“I got nervous and scared,” said McKoy, 62.

A neighbor told her that she had heard gunshots and that police informed her there was a hostage situation.

”Was there a man running around with a gun? We wasn’t told anything,” said McKoy.

Around 11 a.m., McKoy said she received an email that went to all residents from the complex’s management to inform them that the Cary Police Department “has the incident contained.” Residents were told if they left they would not be able to re-enter the complex until the incident was resolved, according to the email provided to The News & Observer.

”If it happened yesterday at night, that’s a long time until this morning and I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

She heard the booms just before 6:30 p.m., from within the apartment complex, which was closed off to the press and the public, except for certain residents.

”It sounded more like a cannon,” said McKoy. “It was like, ‘boom, boom, boom!’ Scared the hell out of me.”


© 2023 The News & Observer

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