ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A man was shot by deputies in Rowan County after he threatened to kill them and fired shots at them following a domestic dispute.
According to the Rowan Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, deputies from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to 1435 Dunn’s Mountain Road, Salisbury, to handle a report of a domestic disturbance.
The initial caller also advised that a man, later identified as 62-year-old Ronald Edward Earnhardt, was inside the house and was angry, tearing up the house, and that he had fired several shots inside the residence. The man did make threats to several persons inside the house that he was going to kill them, according to Captain John Sifford.
Deputies responded emergency traffic and began to arrive at the scene of this incident within about 10 minutes. Deputies parked below the offender’s residence and established a perimeter around his house. Additional perimeter positions were established as more deputies arrived on the scene.
The man continued to fire shots inside the residence while deputies attempted to make contact with him via telephone, or by making voice contact directly.
Information obtained from people who were initially in the house said that the man had at least five different firearms inside the residence consisting of three pistols and two rifles.
Deputies were able to help six people escape from inside the residence, and also evacuated another four people from a shed that was located in the back yard of the residence.
Based on the statements given, deputies were able to obtain a warrant on the offender for communicating threats at the Rowan County Magistrate’s Office.
The RCSO Negotiator Team and the RCSO Special Response Team were activated and responded to the scene to man the perimeter positions to allow some of the patrol deputies to return to their regular zones to continue to answer other calls for service.
Granite Quarry Police were asked to assist with shutting down one end of Dunn’s Mountain Road to all through traffic, while a deputy blocked the end of the road at the Stokes Ferry Road intersection.
RCSO Negotiators made numerous attempts to establish contact and dialogue with the man but were never able to effectively establish any prolonged conversation.
The man continued to exhibit a very agitated state inside the house, and was asked numerous times to put down his weapons, and come outside to be taken into custody.
Neighbors from a nearby home were evacuated.
The man told deputies that they needed to leave and began counting. He also said that he was going to shoot all law enforcement if they did not leave. The man moved toward a door of the residence and exited firing a round at deputies.
A member of the RCSO Special Response Team returned fire by firing one shot which struck the man “causing him significant injury.” Rowan County EMS was already on the scene, and responded in quickly to take the offender to Novant Health Rowan.
Earnhardt was transferred to CMC for further treatment. Officials say he is hospitalized in serious condition.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation was called in to conduct and investigation, since there was an officer-involved shooting. The investigation continues at this present time, and will continue for several more hours.