Robeson County, NC – The gunman who shot an unidentified state trooper on Sunday was fatally shot after engaging tactical officers in a gunfight.
Police have not released details about the gunman’s death, according to WRAL, and it’s not clear at this time if the gunman shot himself or was taken down by officers’ bullets.
A state trooper who was hit by gunfire early in the standoff is reported to be okay, according to The Fayetteville Observer.
Police responded to the residence and were met with a barrage of gunfire. The suspect remained in a standoff with police for more than eight hours, while shooting at them whever he saw them.
Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said the incident began about 4 PM at 96 Arcadiana Drive, near McIver Road and Church Street in Parkton. Police made entry into the residence about 10:30 PM, after a hostage negotiator had been called and they had tried to establish contact with the man.
A witness who lives across the street, Beverly McDonald, said she “heard two or three shots and looked out the window to see a Robeson County sheriff’s deputy running behind a truck.”
She said, “I saw the cop. I saw (my neighbor) shooting at the cop. ‘Bang, bang, bang!’ And the cop ran and jumped behind the truck. A few minutes later, there was a howling of sirens, and the block was covered in police cars. I couldn’t count them all.”
Witnesses reported seeing a man carrying two rifles before the first shots were fired. Sam Ray said, “He came across the railroad track with the rifle draped across his shoulder with the gun hanging toward the ground”.
No official identification of the suspect has been released yet, but Robeson County Commissioner Burlester Campbell said that the suspect’s name was Kevin Battaglia.
In a Facebook post, Battaglia posted a picture of an American flag draped over what appears to be a rifle, with a Bible in front lying on top of a backpack that has multiple ammo magazines visible on the outside.
A Facebook post from September 18 on Battaglia’s Facebook page read “Started working at GOD – Messanger (sic)”.
Neighbors described Battaglia as polite, and said that he often attended neighborhood barbecues. McDonald said that he did not attend the last barbecue, and said that all of the windows at Battaglia’s residence were drawn on Sunday, which she said was unusual.
At least 50 state and local police officers responded to the scene.
Many residents in the area sheltered at City Hall, but have since been allowed to return to their homes.