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Man shot, killed by officer after 8-hour standoff with Fayetteville police

Posted March 16

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— A man who was involved in an 8-hour standoff with Fayetteville police Thursday at an apartment in the 100 block of Sycamore Court has died after being shot by an officer.

Police said the man was Patrick Earl Gatson, 32, who had active warrants for common law robbery and felony possession of stolen goods.

Authorities were called to the apartment complex at about 10 a.m., after Gatson barricaded himself inside an apartment and refused to come out. Authorities said Gatson told police that he did not want to return to jail.

"We tried to do everything that we could and take our time," Fayetteville Police Chief Anthony Kelly said. "We used every method that we knew to ensure that this ended peacefully."

Kelly said at one point, Gatson climbed into an attic in the apartment and crawled through the duplex, eventually falling through the ceiling into another apartment. Kelly said that officers dismantled the attic and searched for Gatson, who was eventually located in a closet with a rifle, magazine and scope in hand.

Kelly said Gatson pointed the rifle at an officer, who ran. A second officer who was still in the attic alerted the SWAT team that Gatson had a weapon. Kelly said officers told Gatson several times to drop his weapon and used non-lethal force, including rubber bullets before eventually firing shots at about 6:15 p.m.

Gatson was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he later died. None of the officers involved were injured.

Crisis negotiators at the scene said that Gatson repeatedly told them "you're going to have to kill me if I come outside" and "I'm going to make you guys shoot me."

"It was extremely long, tiresome mental stress on our negotiators because, at the end of the day, we want everyone to go home safely," said crisis negotiator Capt. Garry Whitaker. "We did everything in our power to convince him to surrender and come out peacefully."

According to police, Gatson was wanted for a March 14 robbery in the 700 block of Ramsey Street.

Teresa C. Berrien Elementary School was on lockdown during the incident.

Because officers had to remove almost the entire ceiling in four apartments to search for Gatson in the attic, the Red Cross is assisting families who were unable to return home Thursday night, Kelly said.

The SBI is investigating the shooting, standard procedure whenever an officer fires a weapon. The officers who fired the shot have been placed on administrative leave.

Anyone with information concerning Gaston is asked to call the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1885 or Crime Stoppers at 910-438-8477.

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