DUDLEY, N.C. (WNCN) — Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce held a press conference Wednesday morning to speak about the standoff Monday that sent three deputies to the hospital, one of whom died.
It was the sheriff’s first time speaking publicly about the incident.
Wayne County officials say the three deputies were shot Monday around 11 a.m. while delivering involuntary commitment papers.
“It is a sad week and leaves a hole in this organization,” the sheriff says.
Sheriff Pierce says all three deputies were wearing bulletproof vests at the time and commended their heroic efforts.
“These are three men simply answering the call for duty doing their jobs,” Sheriff Pierce said. “This is the danger our men and women in law enforcement face each and every day.”
He says deputy Sgt. Matthew Fishman, who had passed away, was with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office since 2010 and leaves behind a wife and children.
Sheriff Pierce says Sgt. Fishman was a well-respected law enforcement officer and an avid church member.
“When he would send emails, he would always put a bible verse at the end of his emails,” Sheriff Pierce said.
Cpl. Andrew Cox, 37, and deputy Alexander Ramon Torres, 27, were in stable condition as of Monday night and are expected to be okay, according to the sheriff.
Torres was released from the ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville Tuesday at about 2 p.m.
Sheriff Pierce says Cox is expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday.
CBS 17 previously reported that just before 8 p.m. Monday, and after more than 8 hours of a standoff, deputies said the incident was “over” after SWAT team members entered the home and located the suspect.
The mobile home the suspect was inside is marked with bullet holes. The sheriff said it is unknown if the bullet holes were from Monday’s incident. He said the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation took over the case.
The suspect, 23-year-old Jourdan Hamilton, suffered what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound and died, according to Joel Gillie, Wayne County’s public affairs director.
Sheriff Pierce says Hamilton has had “instances in the past,” such as a probation violation, but there was “nothing to indicate he would be hostile.”
Records from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety show Hamilton was cited for two misdemeanors during the past two years. One was for communicating threats last year and another was for resisting an officer in 2019.
In Wednesday’s press conference, Sheriff Pierce thanked all of the first responders who helped during Monday’s standoff.
He says the SBI is now handling the investigation and did not comment on specifics.
He says the sheriff’s office is reviewing their policies to see if there is anything they need to do differently.
When asked about the issue of mental health, he says it’s a problem nationwide and something the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deals with daily.
“It’s something we realize have to be dealt with. But on the other hand, it’s a problem particularly in our detention centers rights now,” the sheriff said.
After this incident, Sheriff Pierce said he plans to review the mental health response policies.