Police chief defends secrecy during standoff with suicidal officer

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Submitted: Thu, 06/26/2014 - 9:35pm
Updated: Fri, 06/27/2014 - 12:03pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It took police negotiators more than 11 hours, but the standoff in Mayfaire ended peacefully Tuesday night.

Now we are learning more about what happened inside the apartment where a police officer barricaded himself with a gun, and why the situation was handled with such secrecy.

“He’s hurt. He’s disappointed with himself. He feels he’s disappointed us,” the man’s mother said in a 911 call.

The woman said her son was going through severe trauma. She said what raised the red flag was a text from her son saying, “I love you mom. I love you dad.”

“He’s falling apart emotionally,” she said. “He’s falling apart.”

The officer’s mother went on to say her son had a police radio with him. That forced officers to change tactics and radio channels.

“It changed the dynamics dramatically, OK?” Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said today. “It was not a normal situation, so we had to try to keep things as quiet as possible and go dark as much as we could until we could get everything set up.”

That left many neighbors concerned for their safety, but Evangelous says it had to be done to keep the situation from turing deadly.

“One of the criticisms we’ve heard is that we didn’t put out information,” Evangelous said. “Well, let me tell you what we are dealing with. We’re dealing with news media alerts blowing up his phone. We were dealing with people texting him, even from within the apartment complex.”

The officer was taken to the hospital for evaluation Tuesday night.

“The individual is getting some help,” the chief said. “We’ll see how the whole process goes for him.”

Chief Evangelous says everyone involved in ending the standoff has not sat down to debrief yet, but when they do he says they will discuss what they did right, and what they could have done better.


  • guest of the month says:

    The opinions and rhetoric in the comments here,(without actual knowledge) is ridiculous.

    SOP in any situation when a suspect has access to radio frequencies used by police is for all police to go “quiet”.
    No communication which can endanger the operation. Not on radio and no communication with the press or residents.

    You people need to get off the comment boards and go out and do some volunteering or something.

  • Heimie Schmelter says:

    …your in-breeding, you would avoid your mental illnesses and stop your family from getting arrested in the first place. THEN, you can go get a job and attempt to support yourself!

  • bETH says:

    Animals have more compassion for their fellow animals than most humans do for human kind. Based on the comments here, I would say you all are amoebas at best.

  • Bob Johnson says:

    He wanted to off himself because he realized he works for the most corrupt police force in the state. I’m surprised the police didn’t just blow his door down and shoot him 26 times. I guess since he wasn’t holding a PS3 or a squirt gun he wasn’t a threat.

  • cindy says:

    The individuals that have written negative statements, may have also been in trouble with law enforcement and can only view things negatively. Apparently, these people know nothing about mental illness.

  • Help save us from the corruption says:

    We know everything about mental illness, we have relatives who have a real mental illness, this police officer is not mentally ill. You are attempting to hide him under a false veil. We have relatives who had real mental illnesses that were given no mercy by police and thrown in jail and taken off their medications. We are not the ones in trouble with the law. The Wilmington Police Department can’t stay out of the news though, the truth is coming to light. And you are probably one the corrupt police man yourself. Are you a little worried? You should be, looks like the….natives are getting restless.

  • droppy says:

    That would be “amoebae” … if you’re going to try to sound insulting by calling people names, at least use proper spelling.

  • zenobia says:

    Since local law enforcement, what with all the secret peeping, rape of minors, selling drugs, robbing drug stores (and then selling the drugs) and solicitation of prostitutes is SO upstanding that we have to be felons to have a negative view of them? Where are the “good apples”?

  • Alan says:

    I too, am surprised they didn’t just execute him like the MANY other local incidents where the police just “didn’t have time for” resolving it peacefully and appropriately. Sooooo corrupt. WPD operates outside the constitution. Fourth Amendment is dead.

  • guest111 says:

    This incident did not involve robbery, rape, murder or gangs and WAS NONE OF OUR BUSINESS!! It infuriates me that the media thinks they have a right to impose on such a personal and private matter. People attempt to commit suicide every day and it’s not for the news. This poor soul lost control of his emotions and has to deal with that. Leave him alone and don’t pursue who his family is or what his position is at work. It’s none of our damn business. There should be some way the police can force the media snoops away from an area like this. Next thing you know they will be camping out at the Oak’s front door recording everyone coming and going. How sorry can you get? My best wishes to the gentleman involved in this. Suicide is a long term fix to a short term problem. Hang in there.

  • nellie macon says:

    I agree with you 100 percent. The police can not do their job. Press in the way.

  • droppy says:

    Once this “officer” decided to go on an attention-seeking tirade which necessitated calling in the Swat team and negotiators, setting up a mobile command center, and preventing law-abiding citizens from being able to come and go from their own homes, this no longer qualified as a “private” matter but rather became a very PUBLIC one. Therefore, the citizens of this community deserve to know the details of what occurred that day. Case closed.

  • Sully says:

    My thoughts exactly…well said. The same people that are being so damn nosy are the first ones that would be crying for their privacy if it were their family….IT’S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS!!! Praying for this man and his family

  • 211 says:

    Secrecy from the newspaper and tvs of this town.? Forget it. They thrive on dirt. I don’t watch the news and I only read the headline of a story.

  • guest111 says:

    This isn’t dirt. It’s about a human being in crisis who needs compassion and privacy. A person who needs to work through his issues with his family and closest friends by his side, not one half of New Hanover County hiding around every corner and peeping out from parking lots and behind trees trying to video him. This really makes my blood boil. I still say the police should run the media off in situations like this or at least push them so far back they can’t see what’s going on.

  • Free2Choose says:

    So I guess if he went off and started unloading his service weapon on the apartments and bystanders, it would be there own fault because he is a cop and should be treated different than the rest of the citizens of this nation? If it was you or I, they would have grown impatient, lobbed in tear gas, then stormed the apartment and shot first then asked questions. Remember Peyton Strickland?

  • portcity says:

    When this man decided to become a PUBLIC officer he gave up his right to threaten a life with a dangerous weapon and not have the public no who you are. Even if it is his own life that is still an act of violence.Whos to say this man didnt do something bad that may have made him want to kill himself. My neighborhood was closed and I had SWAT with high powered weapons outside. We deserve to know who the man is that put us in this frightening situation and that may one day be allowed to patrol the streets of wilmington with a loaded weapon! Is this the man you want responding to your home in a bad situation?

  • NCNative says:

    You’ve clearly never heard of HIPPA.

    In incidents where a person’s mental health is questionable, they are taken into protective custody and then taken for a psych evaluation. You know…at a HOSPITAL…with DOCTORS…thereby making them PATIENTS…resulting in a HIPPA issue that prevents names from being released.

  • 1234543 says:

    “It was not a normal situation, so we had to try to keep things as quiet as possible and go dark as much as we could until we could get everything set up.”

    Well when you guys deal with the general public you don’t hesitate to squeeze every bit of sensationalism out of it, and usually ending in death for the individual, so what made this any more special, if anything, this should have been dealt with a lot quicker and decisive than it was, after all, what can be worse than someone who knows the ropes on the loose? If you handled every situation with this kind of patience there would be a lot of well meaning taxpayers alive today.

  • droppy says:

    I can understand keeping things “as dark as possible until they can get everything set up” but this was an ELEVEN HOUR STANDOFF that occurred TWO DAYS AGO. Things have not only been “set up” by now but have been removed as well. Does the Chief care to comment on why information is STILL not being released at this point in time?

  • Help save us from the corruption says:

    They want us to turn our head the other way. Our police are nothing but a bunch of thugs, they have no respect for the citizens of this town, they are criminals with guns and believe me, if this guy was capable of using a gun on himself, he is quite capable of you using it on you. The police chief is nothing but a puppet. Wilmington is full of corruption, it is all around us and getting out of control for all to see now.

  • Rusty says:

    Well if I was a new (or even older?) cop, proud to be one, trying to do the right things and I read all the CRAP the cop haters around here espouse I’d probably become suicidal myself. Can anyone name a profession that does not or has not had any bad apples sully their name at one point or another? I can’t think of any so please stop painting all cops with the same brush; most want to do their job to the best of their abilities as would you or I in our own profession.

  • guest111 says:

    The fact that you say this officer decided to go on an attention-seeking tirade shows you don’t have a clue about mental health issues. It’s not something you pick and choose. I would say I hope you don’t ever go through a situation like this but with your attitude, I think a good dose of depression and suicidal thoughts for you would do wonders to make you a better and more understanding person. We do not deserve to know nor do we have the right to know who this man is. Now, the case is closed.

  • droppy says:

    You are making an ASSUMPTION that he had mental illness when in fact you know nothing of his situation.

    Would the Wilmington PD seriously allow someone with a diagnosis of mental illness to work as a uniformed officer with a gun?

    There is nothing unique about this situation except for the way in which it was handled by the Chief.

  • Danimal says:

    How is this a private matter? SWAT was activated, mobile command post was set up (preventing taxpaying citizens from coming/going). This is a civil servant and we the people deserve to know who he/she is and what rank he/she holds (held). And we certainly should be notified of what duties he/she will be relegated to if he/she is not let go from the force! By the way, I personally don’t care, but if this was not an officer, we certainly would have known details by now

  • A Man says:

    Yeah, you say its none of the community business but how many times if its an regular citizen of Wilmington doing the same act get this kind of treatment with secrecy and hiding? Pretty much none, and you know it! Yes, we understand he needs help. But whos to say he get treated, thinking everything is ok then all of sudden he want to trip because he so call dealing with issue and has emotional problems. The Chief say he dealing with the news and apartment complex calling him, I can understand blocking the news but the apartment complex has a right to know. They want to keep situations like this from happening again and keep their resident holders safe. Just as everyone has been saying, this could have been you average Joe and it wouldn’t stop the WPD, News, DA, and etc from postins the person name and trying to explain their actions on how they handle the event that could have cause danger to the community. It makes your blood boil, do you have a connection with this person? Pretty much the POLICE and whoever carries a badge must have some kind of special treatment because they enforce the law. No, they feel like they are because they are held to a higher standard and should always act accordingly.

  • 1112321321 says:

    The public. First ones to complain that the police aren’t doing their jobs. The public= reason police can’t effectively do their jobs. If you want change, quit crucifying your police force and let them work. I’m not sure why public safety workers are so eager to serve a public that doesn’t support them, only criticizes them.

  • guest111 says:

    Please take a class in English, spelling and writing. Trying to read your comment is wearing me out. It’s none of our business. And, no I don’t have a connection to this person. I am educated and I understand the possibility that this emotional breakdown can happen to anyone at any time. It’s a unfortunate part of life for some people but they don’t just decide to have this happen. It’s out of their control. General society really scares me with their opinions on things. No wonder we have so many problems. Read up on mental health issues, educate yourself AFTER you take classes in English, spelling and writing.

  • guest111 says:

    I, myself, wondered why SWAT was needed but you know what? I am not a trained police officer and neither are you. What ever was done was for a reason and it’s none of my damn business or yours, either. They knew what they were doing and all ended well. Leave it alone.

  • Heimie Schmelter says:

    …why don’t you ALL just do us huge a favor and take a one way highway out of here! The police officers in this town and county have a tremendous amount to deal with and do a pretty damned good job of handling it. Most of you panzie-assed whiners crying about “corruption”, “secrecy” and such are nothing other than a bunch of criminals that hold great disdain against law enforcement because of getting your stupid asses locked up time and time again! Remember these officers have to deal with the criminals like yourselves that use the revolving courtroom door to get placed back into society with those of us that abide by and respect the law!
    I’ve had a lot of experience with law enforcement coming to my home due to an alcoholic ex-wife, and a criminal, thieving, drug addict ex-stepson. They were ALWAYS professional at every call and dealt with every situation with the utmost care and professionalism to gain proper resolution.
    You people should be ashamed of yourselves and are the ROOT of the very problem our local law enforcement has to deal with! But, keep it up “brave keyboard warriors” that hide behind a monitor, you make it quite evident to the general public what you are and exactly HOW you’re made!

  • help save this town from the wilmington police says:

    The Wilmington Police…..Corruption At It’s Finest. We are not going to be bullied by a bunch of thugs that call themselves police and then cry mental illness when they get caught doing something so outrageously illegal….you get out town you big bully with a gun!!

  • WhoKnows says:

    Gee Heimie, You sound like one of those people who think everyone is wrong except you. It’s not hard to understand your family dynamics.

  • portcity says:

    If you not concerned about officers being fired, demoted, arrested, and charged almost on a weekly basis around here then you must be the criminal. Not to mention the rash of “Justifiable and Unjustifiable” shootings lately. If I were you I’d worry more about keeping my household together instead of bashing citizens that are worried about how our local law enforcement has been conducting themselves these past few years. I’d drink alot also if I had to deal with an ass like you…

    Remember these officer signed up for dealing with criminals! Did they think it was gonna be a walk in the park?

    Also your hit the highway comments are getting old. You seem to be the “brave Keyboard warrior” here bashing the citizens because they care…..

  • Portcirty says:

    How is the truth CRAP? I guess you haven’t been reading the paper or watching news around here for the past few years. You haven’t noticed how many cops have been fired, demoted, arrested, and charged. I can think of about 20-30 in past few years. You haven’t noticed how the Public Officer are now being trained as soldiers and carrying military grade weapons and treating citizens like terrorist. We are not at war with our own country. Why are you sending SWAT teams (that are trained like the military) to arrest a petty drug dealer but you send two rambunctious cops to the scene of a young military vet that has “mental” issues from fighting for your country? You think if they would have taking their time to block of the streets and calmly talk to this young women she might be alive. Did officers approach the Off-Duty officer with guns drawn and yelling and screaming? I bet not! The Citizens have a real reason to worry about the local LEO. This didn’t just appear out of no where. I see you know the saying “one bad apple doesn’t spoil the rest. Well if you leave that spoiled apple in the basket long enough. IT WILL SPOIL THE REST!!!

  • Dunkin says:

    Can we say “paranoia” anyone.

  • Guestofferson says:

    You wouldn’t have to “worry” about your local law enforcement if you weren’t committing criminal activity. I surely don’t. Also, I unaware of any “…rash of Justifiable and Unjustifiable shootings lately.” We have hundreds if not thousands of criminals walking among us that the judges release into society every day. I would wager that you’re one of them.

    You submit yourself as a paranoid crackhead that lost his license years ago and rides a junky moped to the liquor store. I’d worry too if I were in your shoes!

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