Buies Creek, N.C. — A Campbell University student suspected of stealing weapons surrendered to Harnett County deputies Wednesday afternoon, ending a three-hour standoff that put the Buies Creek campus on lockdown.
Deputies were trying to serve papers on freshman Jared Dale Knight, 24, when he barricaded himself inside a private home on Dr. McKoy Road at the northwest corner of Campbell's campus, university spokesman Britt Davis said.
Fuquay-Varina police arrested Knight Tuesday on a charge of larceny by employee, linking him to the theft of an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle from the Sovereign Guns shop in town. He was released after posting a $3,000 bond.
On Knight's Facebook page, he notes that he works at Sovereign Guns. He also states that he is from Lubbock, Texas, attended Fuquay-Varina High School in 2005 and is studying youth ministry at Campbell.
Kiran Frampton, the owner of Sovereign Guns, said Knight worked at his store for several months and was a good employee. When managers noticed that a $1,500 AR-15 was missing recently, Knight helped search for it.
"He seemed like a model employee," Frampton said.
Frampton said security video showed Knight stashing the weapon in a bag, so he was arrested. On Wednesday, Frampton said he noticed two rifles and four handguns were missing from the shop, and investigators were dispatched to Campbell to question Knight.
"They were going to talk to him about it, and apparently that is what started the whole thing," Frampton said.
Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said Knight was able to slip out of handcuffs as his deputies were putting him in custody. He then ran into a bedroom where guns were stored and locked the door behind him, the sheriff said.
Deputies got Knight's roommate out of the house, and the Harnett County Sheriff's Office SWAT team was brought in to cordon off the area and try to persuade Knight to surrender, Rollins said.
He made no threats during the negotiations, Rollins said, and the standoff ended peacefully.
"He has got some problems right now, and we need to help him sort them out," Rollins said.
The roommate told authorities that Knight had not been acting unusual in recent days, Rollins said.
Daimon Knight said his son was an Iraq war veteran, and he believes that he could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, noting that he acted differently following his deployment.
"He changed a lot when he went to combat. He kind of went inside himself. He tries not to, but he did no inside himself quite a bit," Daimon Knight said during a telephone interview from his Lubbock home.
Daimon Knight said his son also suffers from temporary paralysis at times from the waist down from a wreck he was in after returning from combat.
Student Adriano Mosquera said Knight didn't seem the type of person to be involved in a standoff with law enforcement. Knight is easy-going and always walks around campus with his dog, Bojangles, and talks about his dog with others, Mosquera said.
"Once we figured out who the person was, we were confused as to why he was doing that," he said. "He was just really nice and, I guess, normal."
The Lundy-Fetterman School of Business and the Fine Arts Building were evacuated, and students and staff were taken to Taylor Hall, Davis said.
Campbell officials ordered the lockdown only as a precaution, Davis said, adding that they never believed any other students were in immediate danger. By 4 p.m., students and staff were allowed to move about on most of the campus.
All classes scheduled for Wednesday evening on the Buies Creek campus were canceled.
In Campbell's school newspaper on Tuesday, an article focused on whether handguns should be allowed on campus. Officials said in the article that the guns are not and will not be allowed.
The school updated its emergency procedures following the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.
Knight received a bad-conduct discharge from the Air Force in August 2008 for taking about $10,600 in military property for his own use and impersonating a Texas wildlife officer, according to military court records.
His civilian criminal record lists only traffic offenses.
Campbell conducted a background check on Knight before allowing him to rent the house on campus, Davis said, adding that he wasn't sure what officials knew about his criminal record.
Rev. Joe Monk, associate pastor of students at Fuquay-Varina Baptist Church, said members of the congregation have been praying for Knight, whom they all know as "Tex," since they first heard of the standoff. He said the entire incident, including the alleged weapons theft, is out of character for Knight.
"The Jared I know, he's outgoing, funny to be around and he's like the life of the party sometimes. He'll go out of way to do anything for you," said Joey Plummer, who has been friends with Knight since 2005.
Plummer bailed Knight out of jail on Tuesday night. He said before and after Wednesday's standoff he got text messages from Knight.
"He text me and told me he went to his court date and told me when his next court date was," Plummer said.
Plummer said he will be there to support his friend.
"We're praying for him. We still love him like family. He's like a brother to me," he said.