Local News

More Details Emerge About Clayton Hostage Situation

Posted November 3, 2004

— A Raleigh woman faces charges of kidnapping and making a false bomb threat after police say she took three employees hostage Tuesday at the Caterpillar plant in Clayton.

Authorities said Pam Arizona was upset about the firing of a friend, Sharon Palmer. She went to the plant where Palmer had worked and held two security guards and O'Neal Simmons, a employee at the plant, captive. Sources close to the investigation said Arizona targeted Simmons because a dispute between him and Palmer.

"You always think things like this happen someplace else. Yesterday, it happened here," said Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell.

At the time of the incident, Arizona told authorities that she had a shotgun and explosives.

"It's intimidating. It's dangerous and it's very frightening," Bizzell said.

Palmer and hostage negotiators were able to get Arizona to release the hostages and end the standoff. Prior to Tuesday's incident, Arizona did not have a criminal record. Neighbors said they were stunned to hear that she was involved in the situation.

"She was a nice lady. She pretty much kept to herself. She would walk dogs through the neighborhood back and forth," neighbor Michael Shoulders said.

Arizona was supposed to be in court Tuesday, but authorities said she was not emotionally ready to appear. They hope to have her in court in the next few days.

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