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Standoff ends with self-inflicted gunshot, police say

1-24-2012 North Carolina:

A four-hour standoff between police and a West Marion man ended Tuesday afternoon when officers stormed the home to find that the resident had shot himself.

George Elmer Painter III, 47, of 70 W. Wilhelmina St. was taken by ambulance to The McDowell Hospital, where he was loaded aboard MAMA, Memorial Mission’s helicopter, and transported to the Asheville facility. EMS Director William Kehler said Painter was in critical condition late Tuesday afternoon. Lt. Rusty Jenkins of the Marion Police Department stated that Painter suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from a .25-caliber handgun.

Painter is an accused child sex offender. Detective Sgt. Rick Gutierrez of the Marion Police Department arrested him in September on two counts each of first-degree statutory sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child.

Gutierrez said the suspect handcuffed, blindfolded and molested a 5-year-old girl.

His charges are still pending in McDowell County Superior Court.

Jenkins said Painter’s wife came to the Police Department shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, requesting assistance at the West Wilhelmina Street residence due to domestic-related issues.

When an officer arrived at the house, Painter approached a window with a gun in his hand, Jenkins stated in a news release. When asked to drop the weapon, Painter retreated from the window and the officer called for assistance.

Jenkins tried several attempts to contact Painter by cell phone and even by loud speaker from a patrol car and by bullhorn.

“George, I need you to answer your telephone, friend,” Jenkins pleaded. “All I’m here to do is talk to you.”

Painter’s aunt was standing by at the scene in case he wanted to talk to a family member instead of police.

Each request for contact was met with silence.

On a couple of occasions, a team of officers crept their way up to the mobile home.

“We were trying to see if we could hear anything, but there was nothing,” the lieutenant stated.

Authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Painter on the grounds that he violated a court order. When released from jail on bond for the pending sex charges, he was told not to be in possession of a firearm.

Close to 1:30 p.m., McDowell County sheriff’s deputies and Marion police officers, all armed and some dressed in tactical gear, stormed the residence and found Painter on the living room couch, suffering from the self-inflicted wound.

EMS paramedics were already on the scene and immediately began to treat Painter.

The hours-long commotion brought West Marion residents out onto their porches and out into the streets. They watched, waited and speculated as to the goings on.

Anna Staten, who lives next door to the Painters, was among the crowd of spectators. She said officers made her leave her house until they knew everything was safe and secure.

“Before he was charged, you couldn’t get (Painter) to say anything to you,” she stated. “He just got out of jail not too long ago. Now, every once in a while, he will come around wanting to buy a couple of cigarettes. … (Painter’s wife) is as antisocial as he is.”

On the scene Tuesday were members of the Marion Police Department, the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, McDowell County EMS, Marion Fire Department, McDowell County Emergency Management, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). ..Source.. by Richelle Bailey | McDowell News

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