Fort Bragg soldier sentenced for shooting at police and firefighters

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Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Eisenhauer

A Fort Bragg soldier charged with firing shots at firefighters and police during a standoff in January, 2012 was in a Cumberland County courtroom Thursday to be sentenced.

Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Eisenhauer apologized and asked for leniency.

"I'm grateful no one was seriously injured," he said.

Eisenhauer accepted a plea agreement in the case. He was facing 15 counts of attempted first-degree murder, but agreed to plead guilty to 15 counts of assault on law officers or government officials. He was sentenced to 10 to 18 years in prison.

Police officers and firefighters were in court Thursday to listen as both the prosecution and defense presented evidence and put witnesses on the stand prior to the sentencing.

Prosecutors said during the course of the four-hour standoff, Eisenhauer fired about 24 rounds from a 9mm pistol.

Two police officers suffered minor injuries before police shot and wounded Eisenhauer 3 times.

Assistant Fayetteville Fire Chief Robert Brinson said many of his firefighters had to have counseling after the incident, and Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said his officers were ambushed.

"I thought Judge Ammons had a lot of competing interests to consider, but I thought what he did is hold the defendant responsible for his actions. He put the lives of our firefighters and police officers in danger," offered Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West.

Eisenhauer spent time as an 82nd Airborne paratrooper, but family members said he suffers from PTSD and was addicted to anti-anxiety medication. At the hearing, several medical experts testified the military failed him.

Sgt. John Drollinger - who served with Eisenhauer in the 82nd Airborne on tours of duty in Afghanistan - described the environment they were in overseas to the court Thursday. He said they faced almost daily gun battles.

"We were in a country where every single person wants to kill you," he said.

After the sentencing, Eisenhauer's father Mark expressed dismay at the prison time. He said his son has suffered enough and should be allowed to come home.

"I got to go. This is just too hard to take," he said.

Eisenhauer remains on active duty, but his family is seeking a discharge that would allow him to continue getting medical benefits and treatment.

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