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Standoff in Rocky Mount ends after suspect shoots self

Posted May 26, 2009

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— A standoff that lasted nearly 20 hours ended Tuesday morning when a man who was barricaded inside a Rocky Mount home shot himself as State Bureau of Investigation agents entered the home.

Nash County Sheriff Richard Jenkins said the man, Thomas Austin Rose, 22, was taken alive to Nash General Hospital, but he did not know where Rose had shot himself.

Thomas Austin Rose Rocky Mount standoff ends with suspect shooting self

Rose was later transferred to Pitt Memorial Hospital, where his condition was not immediately available.

Deputies were trying to serve Rose outstanding warrants for a probation violation and a larceny charge when Rose barricaded himself inside a friend's house at 724 Dana Lane, Jenkins said.

No one else was inside the house; his friend left before the standoff.

About 70 people from the Rocky Mount police, the Nash County Sheriff's Office, the North Carolina Highway Patrol were on hand throughout the standoff, which started when Rose fired a shot, Jenkins said.

He said he did not believe the shot was toward any officers and that no shots were fired throughout the situation.

A police negotiator was able to communicate with Rose by text messaging and telephone until about 2:15 a.m. Authorities lost contact with him after that.

"As long as you can talk to him and negotiate with him, the better you are," Jenkins said. "But he quit talking and we decided we had to do something, and we did. Certainly, it's not the outcome we wanted."

An SBI special response team was called in early Tuesday, and Jenkins said agents began making a move toward the house around 9:15 a.m.

Jenkins said they launched gas canisters inside the house in an effort to smoke him out. When nothing happened, they moved closer to the house and sent in a robot, which didn't detect any movement in the house.

As agents entered the house and were looking around, they heard a gunshot. They found Rose in either a closet or pantry, Jenkins said.

Rose has a criminal record dating to 2004, and he has been in and out of jail since 2005, according to court records. Some of his charges were breaking and entering, resisting a public officer and possession of stolen goods.


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  • ratherbnnc May 27, 2009

    Guess Rocky Mounts Special Response Team isnt that good, so they called in the SBI's? Now thats pitiful!!

    You mean as large a department as Rocky Mount has they dont have a backup team? With over 70 officers reported at the scene
    it was apparent that he couldnt go anywhere..Why not send them home to rest until things changed. Why didnt they call in the SBI SRT in the beginning? Do we know they werent there those 20 hours also? Hmmm.....

  • leo-nc May 26, 2009


    This was a 20 hour standoff. One team can't stay alert and at the ready for that long without getting into security/safety issues. It's not unusual for the SBI's team, when requested, to supplement local teams in this type of situation"-----

    I wouldn't even bother trying to explain to some of these people

  • are you kidding me May 26, 2009

    Health care, food and housing! So, the good lord sends us into the universe to pursue life, liberty and happiness! And does it say in the good book that the cost of this is shared by all who wake up everyday and go to work? I absolutely enjoy getting up and caring for my beautiful family! And this guy wakes up and decides that I do not want to go to jail for behaving outside, what amounts to, wide normal lines. And his punishment is that we house him, care for his self-inflicted wounds, and feed and provide shelter for him until he is deemed to have paid his debt to society! And to top it off, Teacher-Mom warns me to look back at my own life for guidance during my criminal past! You are kidding right?

  • HappyGirl08 May 26, 2009

    "As usual, I am surprised by the lack of sympathy for those who run into trouble with the law."

    Sorry to find you are surprised. I too have no sympathy for him. This time, he only hurt himself and cost the state a ton of $$. Next time, he could seriously hurt someone. I realize people make mistakes, however, that does not mean I am going to "aaww poor baby" the guy. Man up! Take responsibility.

  • jlh4jdj May 26, 2009

    ratherbnnc-Your statement shows that you have no understanding of procedure. If not to call in the SBI in situations where a specialist is needed then why have them?

  • Professor May 26, 2009

    Suicide never solves anything. My condolences to his family.

  • AngelEyes May 26, 2009


  • hdsoftail May 26, 2009

    Yea we all probably did some things we are not proud of when we were young, but I never broke into anyones house nor have i ever fired a shot at the police. I hope his aim was good so my tax dollars will not be wasted any further.

  • angora2 May 26, 2009

    The person who lives in the house must be wondering what hit him! His home is a crime scene and this guy was a friend of his. He's probably not looking forward to spending the night alone there.

  • teacher-mom May 26, 2009

    As usual, I am surprised by the lack of sympathy for those who run into trouble with the law. I want you all to stop and think of some of the stupid things you did when you were young. I have done some stupid things myself. I think there are so many more important issues and criminals than this. I hope this young man is okay. I hope he gets some help. There but for the grace of God...