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Police standoff was 'out of character' for Fort Bragg soldier

Posted January 16, 2012

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— A Fort Bragg soldier injured in a four-hour standoff with police had recently been overwhelmed by the mental and physical stress of deployment, a former comrade said Monday.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Eisenhauer, 30, was charged Saturday with 15 counts of attempted murder, six counts of felony assault on a law enforcement official with a firearm and nine counts of felony assault on a government official with a firearm after allegedly shooting at police and firefighters at his Fayetteville apartment Friday night.

The 30-year-old Eisenhauer was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he was listed Monday evening in critical condition for injuries he suffered during the standoff. Authorities haven't said how Eisenhauer was injured.

"I know that he was reaching out for help, and see, I don't think he felt he was getting the help he needed," Eisenhauer's former squad leader, Joseph Moser, said.

Moser served with Eisenhauer in 2007 and 2008, and the two kept in touch over the years, often speaking on the phone.

What happened Friday, he said, was "completely out of character" for Eisenhauer.

"When I knew him, he was the best soldier I had, a very optimistic person. I loved him, because I loved his energy. He was just so outgoing," Moser said. "Then, to have this sort of a change in him – it's a breakdown, really, just a collapse of being overwhelmed by the emotions that coincide with what these guys go through overseas."

Moser said Eisenhauer had become depressed in recent months after returning this past summer from his third deployment overseas and suffering a traumatic brain injury. He also never got over the loss of two good friends who were killed in Afghanistan in 2009.

Eisenhauer is assigned to Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion, which is for soldiers who have been physically or mentally wounded in combat.

He and Moser last talked on the phone about two months ago, Moser said, during which Eisenhauer complained about being on a variety of medications to combat depression, anxiety and pain.

Josh Eisenhauer Fort Bragg soldier in standoff suffered PTSD

"He just got really, really frustrated with the system, I think," Moser said.

He said Eisenhauer also told him that he felt others looked down on him because of his post-traumatic stress.

“I know he felt like he was getting demeaned a lot because of his situation,” Moser said. “There’s a number of times when me and him would actually talk. He’d call me or I’d call him because I was worried about him."

"You really heard a change in his tone. He became very, very depressed," Moser added.

A soldier who didn't want to be identified also said Monday that Eisenhauer stopped by his house around 6 p.m. Friday – about four hours before the standoff began.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary,” the soldier said, “ but I could tell he was a little off.”

He said Eisenhauer had only slept about five hours in the previous three days and had been in pain from a recent back surgery.

Neighbors said that Eisenhauer, who lives alone, also texted his ex-girlfriend that night, telling her to take care of herself and that he didn't want to be a burden.

Around 10 p.m., firefighters were called to his apartment to investigate reports of smoke from Eisenhauer's balcony.

When firefighters couldn't get into the apartment, they called for backup.

Police officers arrived at the scene and that's when, they said, Eisenhauer fired multiple shots and then barricaded himself inside the third-floor apartment.

Residents were evacuated from the apartment building.

After four hours of trying to contact Eisenhauer, police called in a special team to take down the door with explosives shortly after 2 a.m.

Eisenhauer was found injured on the kitchen floor.

Police spokesman Gavin MacRoberts said two officers suffered minor injuries. One officer was transported to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, while the other was treated on site.

The two officers who returned fire will be placed on administrative duty while the State Bureau of Investigation looks into the incident. That is standard procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting.

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  • yourmadscientist Jan 17, 2012

    Honestly people. He lost his wife while he was in college. 11th round draft pick to NFL. Had a 1 year contract but never had field time. Got released from Chicago and joined the marines. Wife was killed in a crossfire between the robber and police. Later determined she was killed by handgun bullets. The robber had a shotgun. Nephew was unharmed. Happened in Woodstock IL. Has 3 purple hearts.

    Now can you all please stop obsessing over this guy?

  • luvabigdog Jan 17, 2012

    I'm not questioning the validity of this guy. Just that there are some bizarre coincidences to other stories. I'm familiar with football contracts and drafts first hand. It's not unusual for someone to have a 1 or 2 year contract then leave to do something else. Most of them buy restaurants. These are guys that you never see or hear from again. Mostly special teams and such. I don't doubt he's a marine or played for the NFL because its not as unusual as it seems. Seems like other people in here know who he is so I can't argue with that.

  • jesseramone Jan 17, 2012

    BTW I know these things because he speaks at my sons school occasionally and the school board and the principal vetted him. He was there with a recruiter and it had his story and pictures of him in the handouts in football gear with the team. He's like 6'8". Said nothing of his wife or his entire family being LEOs. I also know he was wounded twice. I was reviewing the program because my son was a speaker. Cheesy I know but I keep that stuff for keepsakes.

  • brmyspots Jan 17, 2012

    Sadly I can't prove any of this, nor would I endeavor to. It's easy enough to find out when he returns. I would like to ask his family but it's just not something you can call and talk about on the phone. I've known him for about 8 years and I know what I told you is what I believe to be true. I would not lie for myself, let alone someone else. Believe what you choose. He can clear it up for you when he gets back.

  • jesseramone Jan 17, 2012

    I do not want to speak for brmsyspot but this is what I know is factual about the guy. He is a marine officer. He did play for the NFL as a benchwarming defensive player. He is a widower.

    That is all I know and maybe someone else like himself could fill in the gaps. I don't know about his wife being shot or anything about a robbery. But I do know that he was inspired by Pat Tillman. Such a sad story about that guy. I'm not doubting brmyspot because she has been accurate so far. But some things need verifying.

  • thepeopleschamp Jan 17, 2012

    @luvabigdog, that's what I was thinking. When Pat Tillman left the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army it was a big news story, even before he was tragically killed. But I can't find a thing about any former Chicago Bear quitting the team to join the USMC. I also I'm unable to find any article about an NFL player's wife being shot by police at a robbery. Surely such a tragic event would have been on ESPN at some point.

  • brmyspots Jan 17, 2012

    Yes lubabigdog that sums it up pretty well. The guy is wicked smart with a MS and speaks like 4 languages. He lives in his own personal torment though. I guess it's what a life like that does to a person. Just someone I highly admire.

  • luvabigdog Jan 17, 2012

    brmyspots help me understand this please. the guy on the forum here used to play for the NFL in Chicago but left to join the marines. His entire family are police officers. He was widowed because his wife was killed by police thinking they were the robbers running out of the store. The war is over and he got deployed yesterday again. I'm just trying to piece this all together from yesterdays posting and what I've seen written in the past. He mentions nothing of any of this. All you can tell is that he really doesn't like police and thinks the military is infallible. Wow. Who would have guessed.

  • brmyspots Jan 17, 2012

    @peopleschamp. I wish I could answer your questions but I don't know details and it's something he wont ever talk about. His disdain for police runs pretty high. I know it happened when he played for Chicago so you might be able to find it on a news website there. I never looked for it and never spoke to his dad about it. He was deployed yesterday again. When all the solidiers are coming home the marines are still leaving.

  • thepeopleschamp Jan 17, 2012

    @brmyspots, how does a robber in a surrounded store get away? I'd love to read more about that one. Meanwhile, just as not all soldiers should be judged by the very few who disgrace the uniform, why wouldn't the same be true for police???

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