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Police chief defends secrecy during standoff with suicidal officer

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.

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