Man dead after shooting involving authorities

Jerome Thompkins

January 22, 2011 5:49:37 PM PST
An exchange of gunfire with U.S. Marshals ended with a man dead in Durham Thursday night.

The Chapel Hill Police Department said in a news release that at approximately 8:10 p.m., members of the United States Marshal’s Service Joint Fugitive Task Force were attempting to locate and arrest Jerome Thompkins.

Lt. Kevin Gunter said Thompkins was wanted for three counts of first-degree sex offense involving a child, three counts of indecent liberties with a child, and three counts of crime against nature.

Gunter said officers tracked Thompkins to a home at 404 Macon Street in Durham. When a woman answered the door, Gunter said she gave officers permission to search the residence.

During the search, Gunter said Thompkins did not follow commands to surrender and barricaded himself in a back bedroom.

Warrants reveal that Thompkins managed to overpower Probation Officer Hope Nichols, took her handgun and handcuffed her, essentially holding Nichols hostage.

It also reveals Thompkins was then seen pushing out a window and fired shots out the window at officers.

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Chapel Hill police officer Preston Oppegard - a member of the Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force - returned fire and Thompkins was killed.

Gunter said a routine internal investigation is underway. The State Bureau of Investigation is also reviewing the shooting.

Oppegard is on administrative duty pending the outcome of both investigations.

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