'Nice' trooper helped bring peaceful end to Pittsboro credit union hostage incident

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- One man is in custody after law enforcement officials surrounded a credit union off Industrial Park Drive in Pittsboro on Thursday afternoon.

"The suspect came in, and asked to see the bank manager and when he got to the bank manager, he displayed two weapons and ordered everybody else to leave. And allegedly discharged the weapon into the bank," Pittsboro Police Chief Percy Crutchfield said Friday in an exclusive interview with ABC11.

Police were seen escorting a man in handcuffs -- later identified as Kevin Francis Laliberte -- out to a cruiser from the front entrance of the State Employees' Credit Union around 1 p.m.

Crutchfield said authorities were on scene within about a minute; by that time, all the employees and customers were outside, besides the branch manager.

Police vehicles were stationed at various points around the SECU at the time of the incident.

Inside, Laliberte demanded to speak with State Highway Patrol Trooper Rodney Cook. Trooper Cook had responded to a recent collision involving Laliberte.

"He responded to the scene very quickly. So we were able to pair him with negotiators from the Chatham County Sheriff's Office," Crutchfield said.

During those negotiations, Laliberte became distracted, and the branch manager was able to escape through a back exit.

Laliberte surrendered shortly after 1 p.m., with Cook part of the team leading him out of the building.

"Because (Laliberte) thought Trooper Cook was so professional, and so nice and he trusted him, and he was willing to trust his safety as he perceived it in this instant, and he was willing to surrender himself to Trooper Cook. He just wanted to ensure that he was dealing with Trooper Cook and that Trooper Cook was on the scene," Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield credited the coordination between local, county, state and federal authorities, as well as the branch manager's quick thinking, in helping the situation end without injuries.

Laliberte was convicted in January 1991 on an involuntary manslaughter charge in Chesapeake Virginia District Court.

Authorities say thet believe Laliberte fired indiscriminately, and have not learned of his motive. They are also working to learn how he acquired the two handguns used in this case.

EMBED More News Videos

The incident shook up those in the area.

Mary Schober, who works across the street from the credit union, said "it was just scary and a bit surreal."

She said she saw the employees and clients coming out "with their hands behind their heads," and that "law enforcement had their guns drawn."

"I mean, you can watch these reports on TV, but until you're a couple hundred feet away from it, it really hits you," Schober said.

Laliberte is being held under a $1 million secured bond and faces multiple charges.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.