Fayetteville PD: Suspect found rifle officer left on bed

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Police Chief Anthony Kelly said the situation could have been avoided. (WTVD)

Fayetteville Police released stunning new information Wednesday about an officer-involved shooting during a nearly eight-hour standoff last week.

Police Chief Anthony Kelly said the situation could have been avoided.

Kelly revealed Wednesday that the man killed, Patrick Earl Gatson found a rifle that an officer had cleared in an earlier search.

This all unfolded last Thursday in the 100 block of Sycamore Court.

WATCH WEDNESDAY'S UPDATE ON THE DEADLY STANDOFF


Police said the 32-year-old Gatson barricaded himself in the apartment building, hiding in the attic for eight hours.

Kelly said Wednesday that during the search, an officer found a rifle in an adjacent apartment that belonged to another tenant. That officer cleared the weapon, and put it on the bed.

Gatson then found the rifle and waved it at officers.

Patrick Earl Gatson



"I can't say what they would have done," Kelly said. "All I know is if he hadn't gotten access to that weapon, and been able to chase those officers with that weapon, the outcome would have been different."

PREVIOUS STORY: 3 OFFICERS INVOLVED IN FATAL STANDOFF SHOOTING

Police went to Gatson's apartment around 10 a.m. Thursday in an attempt to serve him with a warrant for common law robbery. Authorities said Gatson refused to come outside.

The officer who found the weapon has been placed on administrative leave, bringing the total to four officers placed on leave in connection with this incident.

ORIGINAL STORY: FAYETTEVILLE STANDOFF SUSPECT SHOT BY POLICE DIES

Officer Joseph "Joey" Delpizzo, 44, 28-year-old Officer Aaron Hunt, and 42-year-old Officer Shawn Collins were already on leave.

The police department, its internal affairs unit and the SBI are investigating.

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