No charges filed in armed standoff at Empie Park

By Kristy Ondo - bio|email
By Max Winitz - bio|email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A young man was taken into police custody Wednesday night after an armed standoff in Wilmington's Empie Park.

"I looked out my window and there were cop cars blocking the road," said Rebecca Richins.  "We have a cop that lived upstairs.  She wasn't home.  We were going to ask her what was going on."

According to police, an 18-year-old boy stole his father's car and money Wednesday afternoon and took off. The young man's father called Wilmington Police who began looking for the car. When an officer spotted it and tried to pull the young man over, he jumped out and ran into Empie Park with a gun.

Police said he threatened others while he was in the park, which was quickly evacuated. A SWAT team as well as members of the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office were called in to assist police.

Cheryl Sealy, manager of J. Michael's Philly Deli located near the park, said her entire staff was concerned.

"They got a weird feeling after they had been out back for a little while watching things with the helicopters flying over," said Sealy.  "They got a weird feeling and they decided it was time to go in and lock the doors."

The standoff lasted for about two hours, during which time the boy had some contact with negotiators but continued to hide among the trees.

The young man was taken into custody around 11:00 PM, but he will not be facing charges.  As of Thursday morning, the teen was under psychiatric care at the hospital.

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