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911 call released in SWAT team standoff at James City Waffle House

By WCTI Staff
Kianga Kelley
Christy Andrews
Published On: Apr 10 2013 05:26:45 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 12 2013 10:39:41 AM CDT
JAMES CITY, CRAVEN COUNTY -

Officials have released the 911 call of the standoff at a James City Waffle House Wednesday morning.

According to investigators, a naked man, thought to be armed with a gun, barricaded himself in the restaurant bathroom, causing a standoff with more than a dozen deputies and police officers.

The call came in at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, reporting that the man was destroying property at the Waffle House on Highway 70 in James City. According to investigators, the man, who has not been identified, was using a cane to break lights inside the restaurant.

Three Waffle House employees then ran outside and called 911:

Dispatch: “Craven County 911.”

Caller: “Yeah, I’m over here at the Waffle House. I got a man in here tearing the building up. Can you send a sheriff deputy over, please?”

Dispatch: “The Waffle House in James City?"

Caller: “Yes.”

Dispatch: “What do you mean, 'tearing the building up?'"

Caller: “He's got a cane. He broke all the lights out.”

Dispatch: “Is he in the parking lot or in the building?”

Caller: “He's in the building; can you hear that in the background?”

Dispatch: “Yes sir.”

But deputies said when they arrived at the scene, the suspect took off his clothes and barricaded himself in the bathroom.

Authorities said they thought the man had a gun, but it has not been confirmed whether he indeed had a firearm. The suspect did have two sheath knives with him though, said Cpt. Joseph Heckman of the Craven County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies and police surrounded the restaurant with guns drawn, trying to get the man out.

"We negotiated with him for about an hour. After negotiation, he finally decided it was time to come out. At the time, the special response team took him into custody," said Cpt. Heckman.

Authorities brought the man out of the restaurant on a stretcher just after 7 a.m. He was not wearing any clothes, deputies said.

Capt. Heckman said the suspect, in his 60's, had a mental illness and was "talking out of his head."

"When they're not talking in a mindful normal state, it's difficult to communicate with them and they're not understanding what you're trying to say," Capt. Heckman said.

Deputies also said the suspect may have terminal cancer. 

"Due to that, we're not sure if he was inviting us to come and try to hurt him or hurt himself," Capt. Heckman said.

The suspect was taken to an area hospital for a evaluation.

The Waffle House restaurant reopened at about 8 a.m. Wednesday. There were no injuries reported.