Standoff in Brunswick County ends - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

12.1.04

Standoff in Brunswick County ends

The stand-off ended peacefully, but it easily could have gone the other way. For nearly four hours, sheriffs deputies blocked off Lord's Branch Road, with ambulances at the ready and nervous neighbors waiting for news.

Negotiators try to get 49-year-old Stephen Garrick to surrender, after he apparently had barricaded himself inside his home.

"He's a paranoid schizaphrenic and delusional," said Brunswick County Sheriff Ron Hewett. "He's heavily armed with knives, attack dogs, swords and firearms."

"I never see him, I only hear him yelling at the dogs and cursing," said Joyce Frasel, who lives just a few doors down from Garrick. "It makes me feel not safe in the neighborhood."

This all started Tuesday, when officers said Garrick pointed a gun at a pest control worker and a neighbor.

A six-foot tall fence, plus an electric fence out back and five german shepard guard dogs intensified the standoff and made negotiations nearly impossible.

"At that point, I made the decision that we would deploy gas into his home to attempt to get him out without any bloodshed," Hewett said. "That worked."

Garrick's mother said he was committed to a mental hospital only a month ago.

"He never hurts anybody physically," said Joan Garrick. "He just scares them and goes wild in the eyes. It's horrifying, and it's heartbreaking. It goes on and on, and you wonder if it will ever end."

Deputies took Garrick away. He is charged with communicating threats, pointing a gun at and pointing a gun at a law enforcement officer. Sheriff Hewett said he hopes Garrick gets the mental help he needs.

It was a peaceful end to a scary standoff, leaving a normally quiet neighborhood relieved.

Reported by Sara Straeten

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