Cell phone outage prompts shooting
A cell phone outage in many parts of the county Thursday afternoon and evening was an inconvenience for many cell phone, computer and cable customers. But it made one man angry enough to carry out a shooting at the Verizon Wireless store early Friday morning.
Lawrence Martin, 65, was arrested and charged Friday after police say he shot the store about 15 times with a rifle.
One of Martin's family members called the Haywood County Sheriff's Office Thursday evening to inform law enforcement that he was planning to target the Waynesville Police Department and communications companies.
Law enforcement weren't sure whether the threats would be carried out, but as a precaution, the Waynesville Police Department went under lockdown around 12:30 a.m. and officers were on the lookout for Martin's vehicle.
Around 4:45 a.m., 9-1-1 calls came in from people at the Huddle House who said a man was shooting at the Verizon Wireless building across from Best Buy. Witnesses told police they saw Martin shooting at the building while sitting in his truck.
Waynesville officers were quick to respond to find Martin still in the parking lot. A chase ensued as the suspect led officers to Main Street.
"He was driving at a pretty high rate of speed down Main Street when he hit the slight curve across from Wells Funeral Home. He clipped a couple of trees and centered one of the trees, completely uprooting it," said Hollingsed.
Martin was arrested and charged with felony fleeing to elude, going armed to the terror of the public and several counts damage to property. Following the vehicle wreck, Martin was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
At the scene of the shooting, officers found 15 shell casings from the rifle they believe Martin used. The majority of bullets went through the windows at the store and some hit the stone and roof.
"The majority of bullets that went through the glass and the wall went into the building and shot some TV monitors and lodged into the interior walls of the building," said Hollingsed.