Local News

Manhunt Over For Hoke Jail Escapee

Posted November 9, 2004

— Authorities say Hoke County Jail escapee William Barefoot has been captured in Gaston County.

Officers say Barefoot was sighted near Interstate 85 Tuesday morning. Three schools in the Gastonia area were placed on lockdown as authorities were looking for him.

Neighbors in the area recognized Barefoot and contacted law enforcement officers. He was later arrested in a trailer in Gaston County.

"The officers took the call very seriously. They created a perimeter around the location. He appeared on the porch, ran, tackled and a struggle ensued," said Gastonia Police Chief Terry Sult.

Barefoot, who had two stolen guns at the time of his arrest, was pepper-sprayed at the scene after he started fighting with authorities. He was taken to an eye wash station and washed up afterwards.

It is believed Barefoot is responsible for some attempted car break-ins at a Home Depot in the same area.

"This could not be possible today if we did not have the support from all the agencies that we have had across the county and across the state," Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said. "It shows that when you work together, you can get some things done and our whole objective was to bring this guy back in and put him back into custody, so our community can be safe."

Authorities also said Tuesday that another person was arrested in connection with trying to help Barefoot elude them. They said that person knows Barefoot, but would not give further details.

Upon hearing of his arrest, members of Barefoot's family said they were glad that he was taken into custody and no one was injured.

Barefoot was serving an 84-year sentence for shooting a Scotland County sheriff's officer in 2001. He escaped from the Hoke County Jail on Oct. 25 after overpowering a jailer and stealing a Ford Explorer.

Last week, Barefoot broke into two homes in Cumberland County and was believed to be heading toward Chapel Hill to visit a sick relative.

Barefoot faces one court of felonious breaking and entering, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of first-degree kidnapping in Cumberland County. He faces one count of larceny by motor vehicle, two counts of assault on a government official and felony jail break in Hoke County.

Barefoot is also expected to face charges in Gaston County.

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