Chatham County Sheriff’s Office diffuses potentially dangerous situation involving Chapel Hill man

Pittsboro, NC – On Wednesday night, November 15, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office successfully diffused a potentially dangerous situation involving a Chapel Hill man experiencing a mental health crisis. 

At approximately 10:30 p.m., Chatham County deputies responded to information provided by the Chapel Hill Police Department, which had been in contact with the distressed individual, alerting Chatham County authorities that the individual was driving south into Chatham County and was expressing intentions to engage in a shootout with deputies and claiming to have already harmed others.

Chatham County deputies intercepted the individual’s vehicle near the Haw River bridge on U.S. 15-501, where authorities temporarily closed traffic while they initiated attempts to negotiate with the man and deescalate the situation. The individual, who claimed he was armed with guns and knives, momentarily fled the scene in his vehicle but stopped a short distance away on private property, within a few feet of an occupied residence.

To peacefully resolve the situation, deputies engaged in dialogue with the individual. When those negotiations proved challenging, and as the risk to public safety increased, deputies resorted to a tactical approach. A non-lethal beanbag round, fired from a shotgun, was utilized to subdue the individual, allowing deputies to more safely approach and deploy a taser, ultimately incapacitating the man.

Contrary to the man’s claims of having harmed others, investigators promptly contacted the man’s roommate and parents, confirming that none had sustained any injuries.

The individual was transported by FirstHealth EMS to Chapel Hill, where he was placed under emergency involuntary commitment for mental health evaluation and treatment.  No injuries occurred during the entire encounter.

The Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the possibility of pending charges related to the incident.

The successful resolution of this situation was aided by the collaboration of the Pittsboro Police Department and the North Carolina Highway Patrol, whose support helped ensure the safety of both the public and law enforcement personnel.

Sheriff Mike Roberson emphasized the importance of de-escalation in such cases, stating, “Our primary goal is the safety and well-being of our community. De-escalation techniques are critical in diffusing tense situations and ensuring the safety of all parties involved. The successful resolution of this incident reflects the dedication and training of our deputies and reinforces our commitment to maintaining a secure environment for everyone we serve.”