Man accused of shooting at officers during standoff in Alexander County

Man accused of shooting at officers during standoff in Alexander County
(Source: Alexander County Sheriff's Office)

ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A man was arrested in Alexander County Saturday after officials say he fired multiple shots at law enforcement, leading to a stand-off and evacuation of nearby homes.

The incident began around midnight when Alexander County Sheriff’s (ACSO) deputies and Hickory Police officers went to a home in the Bethlehem Community for an involuntary commitment. That commitment, according to the release, came after 67-year-old Ralph Walter Aldridge made threats to shoot at Frye Hospital.

Aldridge’s also allegedly threatened to shoot any officer who showed up at his home, so when they arrived at the scene they tried to speak to him through a loudspeaker.

That’s when officials say Aldridge told the officers to “come on up” to the home and he would talk to them. However, he then fired a weapon at them, hitting one patrol vehicle with several rounds and forcing the officers to take cover.

Aldridge then called ACSO communications and told them to have the officers leave the property. He reportedly said if any officer came to his door he would “blow their head off.” Several more shots were then fired.

ACSO officials said the officers couldn’t return fire because they couldn’t see where Aldridge was. Eventually, an armored vehicle was called in and neighbors were evacuated.

Around 3 a.m., tear gas was fired into the home, but Aldridge still refused to come out. So, several more rounds of tear gas were fired into different areas of the home.

After Aldridge stopped communicating with officers around 5 a.m., they made entry into the basement of the home around 7:30 a.m. Aldridge then opened the garage doors and surrendered to officers outside.

Aldridge was taken into custody and charged with seven counts each of assault on a government official with a deadly weapon, communicating threats, and attempted murder on law enforcement officers.

A search of his home turned up a shotgun, a rifle, a revolver, numerous rounds of ammunition and marijuana.

Aldridge is being held on a $6 million secured bond.

No further information has been released.

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