Local News

Northampton Sheriff’s Office Upgrades Weapons After Shootout

Posted October 8, 2007 8:34 p.m. EDT
Updated October 9, 2007 11:44 a.m. EDT

— Since August, the Northampton County Sheriff's Office has upgraded guns, vests, helmets and portable shields in the wake of an encounter with a gunman at a house in Jackson.

“They were instantly out-gunned at that point and found themselves pinned down,” Northampton County Sheriff Wardie Vincent said.

While responding to a domestic disturbance in January, two deputies came under fire from Robert Edwards and his semi-automatic rifle when they responded to a call about a domestic dispute.

Both deputies were armed only with pistols. One deputy was pinned behind his car, while the other deputy managed to return fire when Edwards came out onto a porch, killing him.

Vincent said his deputies should never have to face that scenario again.

“That was my first thought. We need to acquire some weapons to at least be able to return equal fire with that kind of fire,” Vincent said.

After the shootout, Vincent approached the county board of commissioners about getting the new equipment.

“Regarding public safety, I think, I can certainly take a closer look at the request,” board member Fannie P. Green said.

Commissioners recently approved Vincent's request. The sheriff's department has since spent $35,000 on new weaponry.

Vincent said several deputies still need specialized weapon training and that will happen over the next couple of weeks.