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UPDATE: Brian Berger back in New Hanover County to face probation violations


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger is back in Wilmington and being held in the New Hanover County Jail under $300,000 bond.

The charges listed on the jail's website are failure to comply and probation violation. He is due in court Thursday afternoon.

Investigators in western North Carolina say the sound of gun shots earlier this week led them to Berger and to his eventual arrest.

WWAY has also learned that Berger was staying at the home of Justin LaNasa, a Wilmington business owner who has run for several local offices.

According to a news release from Beech Mountain Police Chief Jerry Turbyfill, an officer received a complaint Monday night about the sound of gun shots near their home. The officer responded to what he determined was the only home the shots could have come from and knocked on the door several times. Eventually the officer looked through a window and saw a man peeking around a corner inside. He asked the man, who later identified himself as Berger, if he'd been shooting, but Berger said no. He warned Berger than firing a gun in the town limits was a crime, and he would be charged if it happened again.

According to the release, the officer checked Berger's information and found his past criminal charges, but Berger was not wanted at the time. Turbyfill says the officer felt that Berger's actions were suspicious, especially because he would not open the front door despite being asked several times.

The next day, officers did some more digging and found an Order for Arrest for Berger from New Hanover County for a probation violation had been issued the night before.

Berger is on probation after pleading guilty in February to DWI and misdemeanor drug possession. According to court documents filed Monday in New Hanover County, a violation report was filed against Berger because he reportedly left his last known address at the Jameson Inn in Wilmington last month and could not be reached, "thereby absconding supervision." The report also claims Berger has failed to complete 48 hours of community service within the ordered 120-day timeframe, that he refused to submit to a drug test last month after admitted using marijuana and that he was pulled over in March in Johnston County for driving while his license was revoked.

As a result, police officers from Beech Mountain and Banner Elk along with state probation officers went to the home where Berger was staying. When they got to the home, officers say they looked through a window and saw Berger on a sofa.

"Several weapons were observed in easy reach of Mr. Berger," Turbyfill said in the release. "He was ordered to open the door multiple times, and he refused to open the door. At that time, while he was distracted, officers forced open the rear door of the residence and were able to take him into custody without further incident. He did not resist, he displayed no violence and did not try to reach for a weapon."

Officers found air guns, rifles with high capacity ammunition drums, pistols, various knives, including a switch blade and a sword, a crossbow and a 37mm launcher in the home Turbyfill said. He said the homeowner, a friend of Berger and former federal agent, said the weapons had been securely locked in another part of the house, which Berger had gotten access to without the owner's permission. Turbyfill said the homeowner, who was not at the house during all this, had agreed to let Berger stay for a couple of weeks, but had no knowledge of Berger's problems and "just felt he was down on his luck, and was trying to help him out."

LaNasa told WWAY today he let Berger stay at the house because the commissioner wanted to get away. He said he did not know about the terms of Berger's probation that may prevent him from being there.

LaNasa says he has spent the last two days at the home cleaning up the mess Berger left behind. LaNasa says Berger acted like a 16-year-old when his parents leave them home alone. He says Berger took advantage of him and is not allowed to stay at the mountain house any more. LaNasa says his guns were locked away in a personal area, but Berger broke in.

Beech Mountain Police say all the guns appear to have been legally owned and properly stored by LaNasa. They say Berger could face more charges for breaking and entering into the weapons if LaNasa wants to press charges. LaNasa told WWAY he is meeting with police this afternoon.

Turbyfill says NC Probation officers took Berger to the Avery County Jail, where he is in custody under $300,000 bond. Beech Mountain Police charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia after they found a glass marijuana pipe. Turbyfill says they did not find any illegal drugs.

Turbyfill says none of the responding officers knew Berger was a New Hanover County Commissioner until well after the arrest.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Psychiatric Exam

A psychiatrist should determine what mental illness Berger has because he is most certainly mentally ill.

Where is Berger's family? They should demand mental evaluation before a tragedy occurs.

Just the facts

BB has repeatedly violated conditions of his parole showing that he clearly does not respect the justice system.

Everytime he will get behind the wheel of a vehicle (once he is freed by a sympathetic judge) he is a threat to society. Whether he is medicated or not, I would not feel safe on the road if I knew he was driving.

Do us all (including BB) a favor and keep him incarcerated.

This must have been like Christmas in June for Woody

with his ego, he likely sees this as a vindication of his failed attempt at amotion.

And they certainly did not waste any time getting him back. It sure took less time than that required to get felony suspects back into NHC.

That's a good 6 hours to get there; 6 hours back; and probably an hour or 2 for meal breaks. Throw in the time required out there to process paperwork, you're looking at 15 hours. Likely sent 2 officers due to the distance. Effectively 30 man hours to get Brian back here. And with time and a half for overtime, this could equal 45 hours of paid time plus gasoline and meal per diem.

Scott Pickey -- why not have BullDog Wuzzardo ask the Sheriff why the haste and exactly what was the cost to the county. He is up for re-election. Then ask him if any instructions were issued by the Council to expedite Berger's return

Would give us something other than the same old rehash of events.

What does this have to do

What does this have to do with woody white? Berger is either stupid or emotionally unstable. Normal people do not behave this way. He fought to stay on the board, but won't show up for important votes. HE is the one wasting taxpayers money and is more than derelect in his duties as a commissioner. But I'm sure you think all that is woody whites fault and not because of actions and choices made by Berger. I wondered if there was anyone out there that still couldn't see past the politics. You shouldn't let other people dictate what you think. The facts show an incompetent and troubled individual that is not doing any good to anyone including himself. He bypassed a padlock on a door in a house he doesn't own. So add thief to the list too. I am not even a woody fan, but it is absurd to blame anyone other than Berger for his choices and his behavior. Who cares how fast they got him here? You should care about the fact that Berger is obviously mentally impaired and in desperate need of help, not excuses. Ps if Justin presses charges, which he should but probably won't- Avery county will throw the book at him. I suppose you will think that is about woody white too.


did I lay any blame on Woody White?

You might want to go back to school and brush up on reading comprehension.

Once he was in custody, it appears Berger was transported back to NHC much quicker than 1 might suspect.

If you can point out the statement you feel I made which places some blame on White please do so.

Or are you 1 of the film industry advocates who can not admit the incentive saga played out just as I stated?


When will you admit that you are just a paid shill for the republicans?
You are certainly following the playbook of lies, hearsay, and innuendo. In this case innuendo.
I'm sure that you are shocked that anyone could come to that conclusion from your post but when you say county commissioners we all know that is a code word for Woody White.

you're as bad a

blowhard as the other person.

Where did I even mention the Commissioners?

I asked several questions.

I made no statements; I drew no assumptions.

Is it that bad to concede the film incentive saga is going down just as I stated it would over a week ago?

Not real

That is not the real GuestMan that posted that. As you all know, I could care less what a republican't does to a tea-bagger.

Lanasa and Berger

How could Justin LaNasa NOT know of Berger's issues......LaNasa has tried to run for office himself, and in Wilmington....has tried to help Berger...where can he not know of Berger's issues??? A lie indeed. Berger's issues have been all over the media.


From the same mold. Common sense should have dictated Lanaseee knows better than to have guns anywhere within a ten mile radius of Burger. Didn't he try to commit suicide or something like that? Why would you send someone publically known as emotionally unstable anywhere locked or not, with guns and .. What.. A rocket launcher? Really??? Really????

Heh.. That Shashooer Justin

Heh.. That Shashooer Justin knew, knows what probation rules and regs are. The law just doesn't pertain to him.. Didn't you know that?


What do you mean shashooer? He can't shashoo or drawll..

Brian Berger

He has friend's ? Really ? If he does they should stay far away from him unless they want to be a victim the next time he really "acts like a 14 yr. old" Next time he may really have a gun and shoot some one when he is taking whatever he takes. I think the Beech Mountain officer was lucky this time to be able to make it home safe. Berger is a person just waiting to "Go Off" and yet nothing much is done to stop him.Why he seem's to have people in High Places in NHC that come to his rescue every time, I have no clue. I have no idea if he is Manic, Bi-Polar or what if anything is mentally wrong with him, but someone better find out real fast. He is a snowball rolling downhill and picking up the pace as he goes and he many very well pick some one on the way with horrible result's. Sound's to me like if he is on legal meds, he chooses street drugs over them. that makes him very dangerous. Our Leos better stop being afraid of stepping on toes, including our Chief.Berger is playing the part very well.He get's straight just long enough to fool the fool's that may be in his target area. He either need's in patient help until an outside Doctor is sure he is safe to be around, or he need's to be in Jail. Either way, a preemptive strike should be done before he does more damage.

Brian Berger

Brian is screaming out for help. Hopefully, he can get the help he needs before he hurts himself or others. Just curious, where is his family? Seems like all his high profile friends have abandoned him. Let's put Brian on our prayer list that he can get the help he needs and that his family and true friends will support him through this journey.

You are so right. He needs

You are so right. He needs prayers and help.

According to a news release

According to a news release from Beech Mountain Police Chief Jerry Turbyfill, an officer received a complaint Monday night about the sound of gun shots near their home. Turbyfill said the homeowner, was not at the house during all this. LaNasa says he has spent the last two days at the home cleaning up the mess Berger left behind. LaNasa was in a classroom setting in Wilmington, NC from 8am to 5pm on Tuesday. LaNasa told WWAY he is meeting with police this afternoon.

Who knew?

What a shock, when you let a mentally unstable person into your home they will leave messes. I wasn't aware of that.

Lay off my man!

Berger is the VOICE and MIND of the Tea ParTY

Now with film industry gone, we need mY MAN Berger back in wilmingtonnn.

C'mon Brian! TIME TO LEAD US TO ALL THE GOOD JOBS! We're behind you all the way!

where is the line for enough, already?

When will enough be enough? When Berger goes to the court house or the government building with guns and starts shooting? It's time for the judges around here to put him where he needs to be to get help. He is obviously obsessed with guns. . I think we have heard this story before, all over the news. He's a time bomb waiting to go off.
The legal system needs to get a backbone and step up to the plate and put him in a psych hospital.

Brian Berger's FB page

Look at the photo at top of Brian Berger's Facebook page. It speaks volumes about the turmoil inside him. The photo is of a building with smoke pouring out, as if a bomb has gone off. Unless BB is remanded for inpatient treatment at a facility competent to diagnose him, this cannot end well. He appears to be self-medicating, which only exacerbates his condition. Anyone who considers him/herself a friend of Brian's should not allow him anywhere near weapons of destruction and illegal drugs, including marijuana, and he should not be using alcohol, as his driving behavior indicates. Brian is an intelligent fellow who desperately needs serious intervention, not slaps on the wrist. Any attorney who enables BB to avoid full consequences is complicit in the harm.

What department

And exactly what department was LaNasa a federal agent? His time in the Coast Guard? Way to blow things out of proportion.

You are right

Yes - that is LaNasty's tale. He was a knuckle-dragging deck ape (boatswain's mate) in the Coast Guard. He was a petty officer...under 14USC89a...that paygrade has certain law enforcement powers. But, an E4 typically serves as a boarding team member under close supervision of more senior enlisted (NCO's) or officers. He could be called a federal officer, but to use the term agent means something else entirely.

So...he is definitely stretching a small tale into a yarn.


Again,,where is Ben McCoy? He is quiet. I do nor know, maybe left the area.

Another tool,,,

One need only read the

One need only read the comment section to conclude that Commissioner Brian Berger continues to be an accurate reflection of the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the vast majority of New Hanover County's people. He could've easily been re-elected.

LeNasa, a "Federal Agent"?

WWAY's previous report stated that the house Berger was occupying was owned by a former "Federal Agent" LeNasa? I don't think so...

LeNasa, with all of the rediculous political campaigns you've attempted and lost, wearing t-shirts on TV interviews and portraying yourself as a fully imcompetent oaf on all occassions, you REALLY stepped in it this time! You have now placed yourself so far deep in the ditch you can't even be dug out with a giant track-hoe! Geeeeeeez....Birds of a feather, I suppose.

Only guess I have...

...LaNasa is trying to portray his stint in the Coast Guard as being a federal agent.

Isn't impersonating a federal officer or official a crime?

Isn't impersonating a federal officer or official a crime?

He isn't.

He is not impersonating anything. Saying he WAS something, even if he is using wrong terminology is different than going out and ACTING or taking positive action to portray himself as that person with authority. (Wearing a uniform, trying to pull someone over or take other LE action.)

All manner of people claim they were Navy S.E.A.L.S, war heroes, etc. If they get exposed, they are liars...but to be charged means a specific law is in place and they are violating it. LaNasty isn't doing that. I think a law was actually passed recently regarding wearing a military uniform and medals that weren't earned.


Maybe The Pride of the Tea Party was on his way to meet with Cliven Bundy or Jared and Amanda Miller in Las Vegas.
Say what you want of us Democrats, but, you Republican'ts almost have a patent on crazy...

John Wayne Gasey was a

John Wayne Gasey was a Democrat.