Police: Armed robbery call leads to four-hour negotiation, shots fired at Wallace Walmart

The suspect allegedly told officers, “Either you’re going to shoot me or I’m going to shoot myself.”
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 8:56 AM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2023 at 2:39 PM EDT
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WALLACE, N.C. (WECT) - A Georgia man was taken into custody after a four-hour standoff at the Walmart in Wallace on Wednesday, May 3, according to the Wallace Police Department.

The suspect has been identified as 30-year-old Jerry Arnold Flakes Jr. of Sardis, GA.

“Details as to why Flakes was in Wallace remain unclear, but we did recover a vehicle that Flake stole in Georgia yesterday,” the Wallace PD stated in a Facebook post.

According to police, video surveillance shows Flakes walking to the loading docks of Walmart from the woods nearby. Flakes allegedly attempted to get in a truck backed up to the loading dock. The truck driver came outside, ready to leave, when he encountered Flake.

“Flakes pointed his rifle toward the driver and told him to get in the truck,” according to the post. “The driver turned and ran away. Flakes gave chase while pointing his weapon at the driver. The driver threw down the keys to the truck and ran back into Walmart. Flakes picked up the keys and went back to the truck, and attempted to drive away.”

“That’s when officers arrived and made contact with Flakes and thus began the four-hour standoff. Under the protective cover of the Pender County SRT, multiple negotiators from WPD, PCSO, and the SBI attempted to talk Flake out of the truck. Flakes repeatedly said he was not going back to prison and that officers would have to shoot him, or he would shoot himself.”

The SBI Bomb Squad deployed its robot in an attempt to deliver a phone and cigarette lighter to Flakes. Hovering drones from Pender County Fire and EMS provided visual footage for negotiators.

“Once Flakes pointed his rifle at law enforcement, officers fired five rounds, including one 40mm less-lethal round. Flake fell over into the seat, out of sight from the officers. The officers then moved in to check on Flake and render any aid that might be necessary,” the post states. “Upon opening the truck door, officers discovered Flake still alive and lying on the weapon. Officers were able to remove Flake from the truck and secure the gun without further incident.”

Officials say Flakes was transported to the hospital to treat minor injuries and to be evaluated by mental health professionals.

Flakes will be charged with:

  • Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon
  • Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer with a Firearm
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle
  • Felony Breaking and Entering
  • Breaking and Entering of a Motor Vehicle
  • Possession of methamphetamine.

“There is no question that Flakes was dealing with a mental health issue and under the influence of narcotics,” the post states. “We take these incidents very seriously and try our best to bring a positive resolution to the incident. Officers from every responding agency remained professional and calm throughout the standoff. Negotiators gave Flake every opportunity to surrender and offered to get Flakes mental health assistance. But when Flakes turned his rifle toward the unarmed negotiator, he put the officers in a situation where they had no choice but to discharge their weapons. Without question, the swift action by these officers saved the negotiator and themselves from potential injury or death.”

“No officer wants to be in these situations. No officer wants to have to resort to using lethal force. But we are proud and thankful to have officers willing to make that sacrifice to protect their fellow man. From the first responding officers to those that took Flake into custody, the men and women who responded to this scene today are nothing short of heroes and true public servants.”