ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (WECT) - A 911 call revealed new details in the Bladen County hostage situation and that ended in an officer-involved shooting Friday.
When police showed up Friday, they saw Lance Edward Smith holding a woman at gunpoint in a car. Multiple law enforcement agencies showed up to peacefully resolve the dispute, but minutes after Smith let the victim go, he exchanged gunfire with police. He was struck by an officer’s bullet and died from his injuries the next day.
The 911 caller initially told a Bladen County dispatcher two people were in some kind of argument outside a house on North Owen Street.
During that call, the 911 dispatcher asked if there are any weapons. The caller said he didn’t know.
That draws into question when Smith first pulled the gun on the victim, who he held captive inside a car for nearly three hours.
Elizabethtown police chief Anthony Parrish and Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker reflected on law enforcement’s response Monday.
“It was a team effort. Nobody was in charge while we were doing what we were supposed to be doing and it worked out,” said Sheriff McVicker.
McVicker also noted that non-law enforcement personnel, including a county commissioner and both town and county managers aided in whatever way they could.
Chief Parrish added the combined experience between both agencies helped.
The incident took place in a heavily populated area in broad daylight, forcing law enforcement to consider the safety of many.
“We had houses that weren’t far from there. We had civilians that weren’t on the scene but they were close enough that they could have been injured, and of course our officers. We had officers surrounded and when the shooting starts you want to make there’s no crossfire,” Sheriff McVicker said.