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Salisbury gunman shot by deputies during intense standoff gets identified

Deputies shot a man after he fired off guns and threatened to kill people inside a home in Salisbury. Here’s what led to the tense final moments of the standoff.

SALISBURY, N.C. — A domestic disturbance turned into a shootout with Rowan County deputies Friday night.

At around 9:45 p.m., the Rowan County sheriff's office got a call about a man "tearing up" a house in Salisbury and allegedly firing bullets inside the home. The caller said the man was angry and threatened to kill several people inside the home, officials said.

The Rowan County sheriff’s office have identified 62-year-old Ronald Edward Earnhardt of Salisbury as the offender as of 6 p.m. Saturday.

As RCSO deputies showed up to the home on Dunn’s Mountain Church Road, Earnhardt was still firing off shots inside the house, officials said. The deputies quickly set up a perimeter around the home and tried to call Earnhardt via telephone and speak with him.

Shortly after deputies arrived, the RCSO Negotiator Team and the RCSO Special Response Team showed up and took over for the patrol deputies. As they attempted to establish contact with Earnhardt inside the house, Granite Quarry police shut down one end of Dunn’s Mountain Rd. Another deputy blocked off the Stokes Ferry Road intersection. RCSO said deputies were never able to establish any prolonged conversation with the offender.

Earnhardt was asked by law enforcement officials several times to put down his weapons and come out of the house, officials said. Instead, he threatened to shoot at the deputies if they did not leave, and remained in an "agitated state," according to officials. 

When Earnhardt finally did leave the house, he came out firing, officials report. A member of the RSCO Special Response team shot back and hit him, injuring Earnhardt significantly. The EMS team on the scene quickly came to help him and took Earnhardt to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. Since then, he has been taken to Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center for further treatment.

Deputies were able to get six people out of the home and save four people hiding out in a shed in the backyard of the property. Neighbors from a nearby home were also evacuated during the incident, officials said. 

The man reportedly had three pistols and two rifles with him inside the house, according to RCSO officials. 

Investigators said Earnhardt is at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center in serious condition.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation was called in to conduct and investigation since it was an officer-involved shooting. The investigation is still ongoing.

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