Standoff Ends With Suspect, Two Others Dead

Article Courtesy of The Charlotte Observer

By Cameron Steele

Published April 2, 2013 

A six-hour SWAT team standoff ended late Friday with a suspected shooter and two of his neighbors dead.

HARRISBURG, N.C. -- A six-hour SWAT team standoff ended late Friday with a suspected shooter and two of his neighbors dead, police say.

A Cabarrus County sheriff's official said the suspect apparently shot himself as deputies and SWAT team members surrounded the house where he was hiding. Earlier Friday, the suspect shot and killed two others, police say, in what they described as a neighborhood dispute.

Neighbors said the suspect was angry about pine trees that were cut down behind his house and that the victims were on the homeowners association board that ordered the trees removed.

Police did not identify the suspect or the victims.

Deputies had responded to the scene on Coachman Court at 4:30 p.m. They had received a call of a man shooting a gun near one of the homes in the Windsor Forest neighborhood in Harrisburg.

Family members at the scene late Friday identified one of the victims as Dan Kirchner and said he was president of the Windsor Forest homeowners association. They said the shooting suspect lived between Kirchner and the other victim.

Before the shooting, one of the family members said Kirchner's wife, Lisa, saw the suspect in their backyard. Dan and Lisa Kirchner ran for the house, the family member said. She made it, but Dan Kirchner was shot before he could get inside the house, the family member said.

The pine trees were in the way of power lines and were removed last week, said resident Scott Epley, who has also served as a general contractor for the homeowners association.

Kristine Bishopp, who lives three doors down from the shooting scene, said she and her 14-year-old son heard eight gunshots fired just before 4 p.m.

Clarence Lowdermilk lives next door to where shots were fired, he said, and heard about three gunshots at 4 p.m.

Afterward he received a call from the Sheriff's Office advising him to stay indoors, because authorities were responding to a standoff situation near him.

Later, neighbors learned that two people had been fatally shot.

Authorities blocked entry to the neighborhood off Tom Query Road. By 9:30 p.m., some residents were still unable to get into their neighborhood.

Late Friday, a SWAT team was camped outside of Bishopp's home and police with guns drawn were using her backyard to approach 7791 Coachman Court.

"SWAT team people just ran through my yard with a bullhorn," Bishopp told an Observer reporter by phone just after 7 p.m.

Both Bishopp and Lowdermilk saw police officers escort a woman and children away from the Coachman Court house after the shots were fired.

Lowdermilk reported seeing a body lying in the backyard.

Dispatchers with the Sheriff's Office could not release other information about the standoff and said all available sheriff's deputies were on the scene.

Resident Scott Epley said some 40 emergency vehicles were in the area near his Wynford Court home.

Authorities were using EMS trucks to block roadways, Epley said.

Neighbors had heard reports that deputies were searching for a shooter on foot, but Bishopp said the house at 7791 Coachman was where police were directing their attention.

"Everything seems to be focused on the house," she said.