Local News

Bragg soldier charged after standoff at Fayetteville apartment

Posted January 14, 2012 5:40 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2012 1:08 p.m. EST

— A Fort Bragg soldier faces a slew of charges after allegedly shooting at police and firefighters Friday during a four-hour standoff at his Fayetteville apartment.

Staff Sgt. Joshua P. Eisenhauer 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, police said.

Eisenhauer, 30, was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and later to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill to be treated for critical injuries he suffered during the standoff.

Authorities would not confirm whether Eisenhauer was injured by officers' return fire, an explosive blast that allowed police inside the apartment or a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Eisenhauer's father, Mark Eisenhauer, said he "doesn't understand" what could have happened.

"I thank God that Joshua didn't hurt anyone," Mark Eisenhauer said. "Joshua is a soldier trained by the best Army in the world. Had he intended on hurting anyone, why is he the only one with multiple bullet holes in him?"

The Army said Eisenhauer, who was deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan, is assigned to Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion, which is often for soldiers who have been physically or mentally wounded in combat.

Neighbors told WRAL News that he lives alone and kept to himself, but has some psychological issues. They said Eisenhauer texted his ex-girlfriend Friday night, telling her to take care of herself and that he didn't want to be a burden.

The standoff started around 10 p.m. Friday, when firefighters were called to Austin Creek Apartments off 71st School Road to investigate reports of smoke, which neighbors said was coming from the balcony where Eisenhauer threw his cigarettes.

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.

Neighbor Kennedy Frierson said the gunfire "sounded like a war zone."

Residents were evacuated from the apartment building, and Frierson said many of his neighbors were crying.

"(One) girl said bullets came through her door and into the back bedroom where her kid was," he said. "It was really scary."

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.