Local News

Fayetteville police arrest gunman after standoff

Posted March 24, 2009

— Fayetteville police officers arrested an armed Fort Bragg soldier at about 10 a.m. Tuesday after an eight-hour standoff in which they said he shot at them from an apartment complex where he had holed up. 

Spc. Jason N. Johnson, 24, a dental specialist, exchanged gunfire with police, tried to stab an officer and barricaded himself inside Chason Ridge Apartments early Tuesday, police said.

Fayetteville police arrest gunman after standoff Web Only: Authorities arrest gunman

No one was injured when Johnson and officers fired several rounds at each other. Johnson was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for a superficial wound to his wrist. Police said it was unclear how he suffered the injury.

"He's angry. He's irritated. I think that's the best way to put it right now," Fayetteville Police Department spokeswoman Theresa Chance said after the standoff. "His tone is that he just wants to be left alone."

Investigators planned to charge him with several counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count each of firing into occupied property and felony breaking and entering.

Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum described Johnson as an "average soldier, not stellar, but not a slacker." He has been at Fort Bragg for two years and is married with no children, McCollum said.

Amy Johnson said she has been married to Jason Johnson for eight months, but she recently moved back home to Savannah, Ga., because he said he wanted a divorce.

Johnson has never been deployed, but he has had medical treatment, McCollum said. He wouldn't specify if the treatment was for mental or physical ailments.

"This is not typical of any Fort Bragg soldier, whether he's a dental specialist or one who's trained in firearms," McCollum said. "His training does not involve weapons to any large extent other than the annual qualification ranges."

Amy Johnson said her husband had a nervous breakdown last month. He checked himself into the psychiatric ward at Womack Army Medical Center last Tuesday, but was released the following day, she said.

"I was, like, this will happen again. I was, like, whether it's a day, a week, a month, unless he gets help," she said, adding that she believes Jason Johnson should have received more treatment before being released.

Fayetteville police standoff Wife: Soldier had breakdown, needs help

"Deep down, I know he's a good person," she said. "That's why I want him to get the help that he can get back to being him – he can get back to being the Jason that I did fall in love with."

His parents also live in Savannah, and he talked to his mother at about 1 a.m. Tuesday, police said. Details of the call were not released.

Residents of eight apartments in the complex, at 600 Scotia Lane, were forced to leave as police secured the area and dealt with Johnson.

Dan Dsroches said his wife and infant baby couldn't leave their apartment.

"She's freaked out. She's in the back room with the baby," Dsroches said.

The incident began after a woman tried to get Johnson under control in the complex's parking lot at about 2 a.m.

It was unclear why she tried to contain Johnson or what had provoked him. Police did not release the woman's name or her relation to him, but they characterized the initial report as a domestic situation.

Johnson lives at the complex, but he was barricaded in a friend's apartment. He shimmied up a brick column into the second-floor apartment to elude police, and he tried to stab an officer who followed him up the column, police said.

After the exchange of gunfire, police fired tear gas into the apartment, and Johnson retreated into the bathroom. The Cumberland County bomb squad then sent a robot into the apartment, and authorities were able to talk with Johnson using a microphone and speaker on the robot.

Police said they had a similar situation with him last week. Officers were called to the same complex after he barricaded himself in an apartment. He wasn't armed then, however, so police did not arrest him, Sgt. Tracey Bass-Caine of the Fayetteville Police Department said.

Instead, Army officials took him back to Fort Bragg for a psychological evaluation, authorities said.


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  • ladyblue Mar 24, 2009

    as far as I am concerned this is a mental case, not criminal. This man obviously needed help and still needs help. He should be hospitalized until they get the correct meds to him and they get him mentally straight. Thank God he did not kill anyone.

  • kcfoxie Mar 24, 2009

    Congrats you've managed to get the original comment removed. If you think this is some isolated event, we're going to see a lot more break downs of folks like this. That's where the song comes in, the end of the world as we know it.

    First it was the guy who torched a Ford dealer in Florida, then the guy who killed most of his family, now this. Mark my words: we've already made our bed. We neglected these people and now all I can do is sit back and sing a trite little song because I've advocated for years that we do something and no one listened ... till it was too late.

  • See Chart Mar 24, 2009

    Lakelover you are right on this one this man did
    not get correct treatment his is a medical issue.

  • See Chart Mar 24, 2009

    Some of these pills that they give depressed patients
    are worse for them than the original symptoms
    I hope in this case that this was not the scenario.
    Psychiatrists are lazy ,they should see all patients
    on the 2nd or third day that they are on psycho-pharmacolgy
    regimentation ,to rule out agitation and Akathesia and well yes worse Depression or suicidal beliefs.

  • MamaDummy Mar 24, 2009

    This whole senario could have been a lot different. Thank the Lord above no one was killed.

  • may2009grad Mar 24, 2009

    The state government should take the time, effort and money in overhauling the mental health of this state. The citizens that do work only have insurance that covers physical problems, not mental problems, if they have insurance to cover anything. The problem lies with our elected officials, will take our tax money and spend it in a necessary way such as the mental health system? Or are things going to continue going downhill, I really do not think that things can any more downhill.

  • JAT Mar 24, 2009

    Quit blaming the Army for this guy's failures. We don't know what transpired after his "nervous breakdown" and sessions with Army doctors. If he didn't think he was getting help, or his wife, there are always non-military doctors. If was a true nervous breakdown, I doubt he'd be able to function. If society can't keep a person locked up more than 3 days, I doubt the military can. It's a sad situation that shouldn't have gotten this far. Too bad he didn't get help before he had a breakdown.

  • Drakula_I_G Mar 24, 2009

    He went postal - no, wait - he went dental !

  • familyfour Mar 24, 2009

    If this is how they take care of the people who are trained to defend us, imagine what they think about the rest of us. We are nothing.

  • whocares Mar 24, 2009

    The mental health laws in this state need to be overhauled. The reason most people who have a mental illness do not get treated is because they 1. have no insurance or 2. the insurance that they do have does not cover mental health issues so they get discharged within 24 hours if someone says that they are not a danger to themselves or others. I sincerely hope that this person gets the help he needs and has needed, and that the person that sent him on his way gets jail time.