SHERIFF: Georgia man in Wallace Walmart standoff has escaped custody

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 6:44 PM EDT
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DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A Georgia man facing multiple charges after a four-hour standoff at an Eastern Carolina Walmart has escaped custody at ECU Health Duplin Hospital in Kenansville.

According to Duplin County Sheriff’s Office Captain Scott Kennedy, Jerry Flakes, Jr. of Georgia was in custody at ECU Health Duplin Hospital in Kenansville for a mental evaluation stemming from the Walmart standoff when he managed to escape the facility.

The sheriff’s office also said that ECU Health Duplin Hospital was in charge of watching Flakes while he was there for the mental evaluation.

Flakes is wearing a blue hospital scrub top and pants, white socks, and a gold chain. A manhunt is underway for him and law enforcement encourages anyone who sees him to call 911.

Jerry Flakes, Jr.
Jerry Flakes, Jr.(Wallace police/WITN)

Flakes was in custody after police say he pointed a rifle at a truck driver on the loading dock of the Walmart in Wallace.

Wallace Police Chief James Crayton said they got a call shortly after 2:00 a.m. Wednesday about an armed robber near the loading dock of the Walmart on Highway 41.

Police said the ordeal actually began Tuesday when Jerry Flakes, Jr. stole a vehicle in Georgia.

Video surveillance showed the man walking to the loading dock of the store from nearby woods, police said. Police said the man tried to get into a truck backed up to the loading dock and as the driver came outside to leave he encountered Flakes.

Officers said the Georgia man pointed a rifle at the driver and told him to get into the truck. The driver turned and ran away, throwing down his keys as he ran back into the store.

Police said Flakes took the keys and tried to drive away in the truck. But that’s when police arrived, and the start of what turned out to be a four-hour standoff.

With a special response team’s cover, negotiators tried to talk the man out of the truck, according to a news release. Police said Flakes repeatedly said he was not going back to prison and that officers would have to shoot him, or he would shoot himself.

Police said at one point the man pointed his rifle at officers who then fired five rounds. They said the man fell over in the seat of the truck. Officers then moved in and took Flakes into custody.