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1 dead after standoff, fire inside N.C. house

A domestic disturbance in Forsyth County escalated into shots fired and a set fire



News & Record

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The Forsyth County Fire Department is investigating a death after a fire and standoff early Friday in Rural Hall.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office responded at 2:48 a.m. to a domestic disturbance at 240 North Street.

A caller reported that someone had set a vehicle on fire and had broken windows, the sheriff’s office said.

When deputies arrived, a man barricaded himself inside the house and threatened to shoot anyone who entered, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office’s crisis negotiation and SWAT teams went to the scene. Deputies put out the vehicle fire, then saw smoke coming from the house, the sheriff’s office said.

The Rural Fire Department was dispatched to the scene.

Deputies used a public-address system to urge the man to come out of the house, so that firefighters could put out the fire, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office didn’t say whether the man came out, nor did it say who died or how the person died.

Christina Howell, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, referred questions about the barricaded man and the house fire to the Forsyth County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Brett Smith, a Forsyth County deputy fire chief, couldn’t be immediately reached Friday for comment.

At the crime scene Friday morning, a charred Honda Fit sat in the garage of the modest brick ranch house where the standoff occurred.

A large hole gaped in the roof from the fire that the man who barricaded himself inside allegedly set. Debris from the fire covered the Honda and a grill inside the garage. Fire marshal investigators stood in the yard and examined debris.

A forensic investigation truck from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office sat in the street, which was crowded with fire and law enforcement vehicles.

Jimmie Moore, a next-door neighbor, said he was awakened by the man who lived in the house about 2:30 a.m. Friday. The man wanted to borrow Moore’s pickup truck so he could go get his younger brother.

Moore said he told the man he couldn’t let him borrow the truck.

A little later, he said, he heard a noise and saw law enforcement officers in the yard. He also heard a loudspeaker broadcasting the message: “Come out with your hands up.”

And still later, someone knocked on his door and told him the house next door was on fire.

Moore said the fire wasn’t brought fully under control until daybreak approached.

Moore said he heard no shots fired during the standoff and doesn’t know what happened. He did see the body of the man next door being removed Friday morning.

Moore said the couple in the house had lived there around a year, and that he helped out the husband on a number of occasions. He would give him a lift or even put him up in a motel room for the night, he said.

Moore said law enforcement officers were often called to the house in response to domestic disturbances, but added he didn’t know any details about what went on.

Another neighbor confirmed Moore’s description of the husband as someone who liked to help around the neighborhood. Moore said the man would trim his bushes and worked “more than any three men I’ve ever seen.”

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