Canton standoff ends in suicide

By DeeAnna Haney | Apr 04, 2013
Photo by: DeeAnna Haney Officers huddle by a home near 211 Garden Lane to make a plan of entry.

A Canton man took his own life Thursday morning during a standoff with law enforcement at his home on Garden Lane.

Sheriff’s Deputy Doug Carver was called to Jeremy Lawrence Shipman’s house at 211 Garden Lane off Plott Farm Road, in response to a welfare check request, said Deputy Heidi Warren, public information officer for the sheriff’s office. Shipman’s coworker asked for someone to check on him after he failed to show up to work that morning.

When Carver arrived at the home, Shipman, 27, came to the door with a rifle in his hands, said Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher.

He answered the door in a confrontational manner and told Carver that he was OK and for him to get off his property or he would shoot, Christopher said.

Carver took cover in the man’s carport just in time to dodge the bullets when Shipman came outside the and opened fire. He then went back into his house and Carver called for backup without firing any shots in return.

Officers from every agency in the county responded to the scene including Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, Waynesville Police Department and their SWAT team, Canton Police Department, Clyde Police Department, Maggie Valley Police Department and N.C. Highway Patrol.

Christopher was one of the first to respond to the scene and would not leave until the area was secure.

Officers began urging Shipman to come out of his home through a megaphone.

“We believed he was still alive and we were trying to communicate and ask him to come out,” Christopher said.

After spending four hours urging him to exit his home, a multi-agency SWAT team made a forced entry into the house through the carport door, Christopher said. Officers found Shipman dead in one of the bedrooms with a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Christopher said officers on the scene did not hear the shot that was fired from inside the home, and he is unsure when the suicide occurred. The man was the only person in the house at the time.

Shipman had recently moved to Canton from Florida and still had a Florida driver’s license.

Warren said agents from the State Bureau of Investigation are aiding in the investigation. It’s unclear at this time the number of shots that were initially fired, she said, as officers are still finding bullets and casings on and around the property.

Paul Price, who lives in the neighborhood, said the area has always been nice and quiet.

“I’ve lived here 20 years and never seen anything like this,” he said while watching the scene unfold from his back porch.

He did not hear the gunshots that morning but watched as the police flooded his community.

In the end, Christopher said the incident could have turned out even more tragic, but teamwork was key in this case.

“I’m very appreciative that we have the cooperation and teamwork from other agencies and they were here today to assist with this volatile situation,” Christopher said.

Canton Police Chief Bryan Whitner agreed, saying, “This is what cooperation looks like.”