WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An assault investigation downtown led to a search after a police say a man ran from them and jumped into the Cape Fear River. It happened Friday morning around 1:15 a.m.
Police were talking with Caleb Mercer, 20, after they saw him running from the scene of a fight. Officers say as they tried to get his information, he handed them someone else’s driver license. As an officer was writing Mercer a citation, the officer was distracted by two other men running toward him. That’s when police say Mercer took off toward the river.
Investigators say when a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy approached Mercer, he jumped into the river at the foot of Market Street and swam all the way across to the river to the Battleship North Carolina.
Wilmington Police, SABLE and the State Ports Authority searched for Mercer for about an hour. They found him in a marsh near the Battleship.
Mercer surrendered, and officers took him into custody around 2 a.m. Police say Mercer is charged with hinder/obstruct/delay public officers, consuming alcohol under 21, obtain/attempt to obtain alcohol with a drivers license of another person and city code violation of swimming in the river from the park.
We requested to talk to Mercer in jail. A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Mercer had bonded out, and his mother said he could not talk with us.