China Grove man robs gas station, leads police in chase, two hour standoff

China Grove Police Officer Nena Stillwell takes pictures of a car that James Lee Jackson Jr. exited out of after leading police on a short chase. He barricaded himself inside an apartment on Second Avenue. Shavonne Potts/Salisbury Post
China Grove Police Officer Nena Stillwell takes pictures of a car that James Lee Jackson Jr. exited out of after leading police on a short chase. He barricaded himself inside an apartment on Second Avenue. Shavonne Potts/Salisbury Post

CHINA GROVE — Residents of one China Grove neighborhood have quite a story to tell after a man barricaded himself inside an apartment Friday on Second Avenue.

China Grove Police say James Lee “Mugsy” Jackson Jr., 25, of Shue Road, robbed a Rushco convenience store on U.S. 29, took police on a short chase, broke into an empty apartment and refused to come out.

Jackson held authorities off for nearly two hours, then came out peacefully. The standoff occurred on Second Avenue, which is a short narrow street just off U.S. 29. There are only a few apartments on the street and authorities say the one Jackson ran into was empty at the time.

A witness and the store clerk called to report the robbery, which occurred around 5:10 a.m., said China Grove Police Chief Eddie Kluttz.

Once Jackson left the store, he drove on Church Street toward Main Street, where a Landis officer intercepted his vehicle. A chase ensued for about 5 miles and continued through the Mill Village. Jackson, driving a white, older model Honda, stopped at the apartment building.

When Jackson got out of the car, he pointed a handgun at the officer, police said. The officer fired at least two shots. One of the gunshots hit the passenger-side window of Jackson’s car.

Jackson jumped from the vehicle and, around 5:25 a.m., forced his way into an apartment. The renter, Sherry McKinney, was not home, but was notified later about the incident.

The special response team from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office was called in and officers surrounded the building. Two apartments and a house were evacuated during the standoff.

Officers were able to identify Jackson’s girlfriend, who spoke with him for a few minutes. A police negotiator spoke with Jackson through the door and windows of the apartment.

Jackson left the apartment and surrendered to authorities at 7:25 a.m.

Jackson was charged with armed robbery, first-degree burglary and assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer.

McKinney, the renter, said she was shocked to learn a man had barricaded himself inside her apartment. She and her neighbors said the area is quiet. McKinney said she just moved into the apartment in July.

“I’m just glad that I wasn’t here, so that’s the biggest thing,” she said.

McKinney said she believed Jackson would’ve shot her if she had been home, but she said she would’ve certainly fought back.

The apartment was ransacked, holes were punched in the walls and cigarette burns were left in the carpet. Jackson also tracked mud and dripped blood throughout the house. Kluttz said the suspect had cuts to his fingers, but it was unclear whether he was cut during the robbery at the store, from broken glass when shots were fired or when he was arrested.

Jackson drank a bottle of wine that McKinney had just bought for her daughter’s 24th birthday.

McKinney said it also appeared Jackson lay down in her bed.

An officer went to McKinney’s workplace to tell her about the incident. She arrived at the apartment after Jackson had been arrested and just before investigators went inside to assess the crime scene.

Neighbor Emily Aderhold was awakened around 5 a.m. by her 10-year-old son, who said he heard gunshots.

Aderhold said she was half asleep and at first thought someone was shooting in the house located behind her. Once she got out of bed, Aderhold then thought one of the neighboring apartments had been broken into and the suspect was running from law enforcement.

She and her son heard yelling and then saw all the law enforcement vehicles parked in the roadway.

She’s lived at the apartment for four years and said it’s always been quiet.

Jackson has previously been convicted of breaking and entering, safecracking, robbery, larceny, assault by strangulation, drug possession and driving while impaired. He was charged in May with trafficking and possession of black tar heroin.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook:

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