An armed man who barricaded himself in a bedroom of his mother’s mobile home off Ferry Road Tuesday afternoon was taken into custody after about a 5 1/2-hour standoff.
An emergency responder said that the man inside the well-kept trailer was Bernie Gene “Popcorn” George, who is believed to be in his 40s. Authorities believed the man was armed with a rifle.
Around 9 p.m., the suspect was taken into custody. He was being transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern for evaluation. He reportedly was tased during his capture.
Capt. Joe Heckman of the Craven County Sheriff’s Department held a briefing at 7:30 p.m. stating that law enforcement planned to wait out the man inside and that they were trying to communicate with him but that he was speaking “rhetoric.” He said power had been cut to the building in an effort to make the suspect uncomfortable inside on the warm and humid afternoon.
Heckman said that the incident started around 3:30 p.m. when deputies arrived at the mobile home to serve a resident with “involuntary commitment” papers initiated by family members.
Deputies entered and encountered resistance, Heckman said.
Some at the scene suggested the suspect might have another gun and a knife. An emergency responder said the man apparently had not taken his medication.
The incident began around 2:33 p.m. when someone made a 911 call asking for help with a man who was armed and threatening harm to himself inside the mobile home. The mobile home is located at 116 Ferry Road, not far from the intersection with N.C. 101. The home belongs to Alice George Godette, the man’s mother.
More than a dozen law enforcement officers answered the call, including the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Havelock Police and emergency personnel from Havelock Fire and Rescue and the Harlowe Volunteer Fire Department.
Other occupants of the house were safely escorted out by around 3 p.m., but George remained inside. Neighbors and onlookers gathered as the sirens kept signaling more law enforcement was coming.
Some who knew George and asked not to be identified said he had never been a troublemaker.
“That man wouldn’t hurt a butterfly,” one man told a reporter. “I’ve never, ever even seen him get loud with anyone before.”