Thursday, 12 April 2018 06:32

NCSO offers more insight on Enviva standoff

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A statement by the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office offers new insight on the circumstances which led a New Hanover County probation absconder to hide in a storage bin on the grounds of a wood pellet plant outside Garysburg Monday.

The statement, submitted by Captain Patrick Jacobs, shows holes were cut in the building to not only use for cameras but to deploy pepper spray as a way to force Kylen Padgett Jr. out.

Ultimately, the statement says, Padgett gave up from exhaustion after spending some 16 hours inside the building, maneuvering on beams and wedging himself in spaces throughout the storage area.

Padgett is currently in jail in Northampton County on $326,000 bond and awaits an April 16 court date.

Northampton County served him three outstanding warrants for probation violation and served him a warrant for kidnapping, reflecting the crime which led to him getting a ride from a truck driver heading to Enviva outside Garysburg from the Wilmington area.

He faces a charge of resist, delay and obstruct from Northampton County.

The encounter, Jacobs said in the statement, began around 3:15 a.m. when the sheriff’s office received a call from Enviva a man armed with a handgun was in a tractor-trailer and had allegedly kidnapped the truck driver, forcing him to drive from New Hanover County. “Upon the arrival of officers and negotiation efforts, Kylen Padgett Jr. would never respond to law enforcement. After about 3 hours of standoff officers were able to deploy pepper spray in the cab of the truck,” Jacobs said in the statement. “Approximately 30 seconds later Kylen Padgett Jr. exited the cab of the truck through the driver side window with his hands held high appearing to give up to law enforcement.”

But, Jacobs said, “At that point Kylen Padgett Jr. turned his attention to escaping from law enforcement and climbed through the rafters of the building never setting feet on the ground.” Throughout the day officers heard and saw Padgett within the rafters and steel beams of the building’s interior roof but were unable to negotiate with him.

They were unable to reach his position as he was wedged between the building’s exterior wall and steel beams. “Officers were unable to reach Padgett’s location due to officer safety concerns. The scale operation plant where Padgett was located was shut down until Padgett could be captured.”

The sheriff’s office worked in conjunction with Enviva employees and a lift was used to take officers to the top exterior portion of the building where Padgett was last seen.

Officers cut holes in the building deploying more pepper spray in an attempt to get Padgett to surrender. “With no success officers then cut larger holes to use cameras and visually inspect the area Padgett was last seen wedged in wall of building. Law enforcement was no longer able to see Padgett upon late afternoon as he continued to evade capture.”

Late afternoon at approximately 4 p.m., Padgett was located within the building walls but he was able to successfully evade capture after a brief negotiation with law enforcement and refusing to comply with commands.

Law enforcement stayed on scene as darkness fell and at approximately 11:30 p.m., cut additional holes in the opposite west side of the building where more negotiations were used with Padgett.

Law enforcement on scene were eventually able to apprehend Padgett as he gave up from exhaustion. Medical care was provided and later Padgett was transported to the Northampton County Jail where he was processed and served outstanding warrants.

“I am relieved Kylen Padgett Jr. was apprehended with no officers from all responding agencies being hurt,” Sheriff Jack Smith said in the statement.

Smith said he was appreciative of the multitude of law enforcement, fire, EMS, Enviva employees and state agencies “for their assistance and everyone working as a collective team to get the job done.”

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