Former Spencer mayor holds police at bay with assault rifle before being tackled
By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó An armed standoff involving a former Spencer mayor ended without serious injury in the woman’s backyard Friday afternoon.
Alicia Bean, 42, who served as mayor from 2005-2007, held law enforcement officers at bay for about an hour before officers tackled her in a storage building behind her house at 218 N. Yadkin Ave.
The incident ended shortly after 3:30 p.m.
“It all ended good,” said Spencer Police Officer A.C. Hinson as he returned to his patrol car.
Spencer Police initially went to the scene in response to a reported suicide threat.
Transmissions heard across a police scanner indicated a woman had called 911 threatening to shoot herself, then threatening to kill any police officer who came to her house. Bean’s name was eventually mentioned on the scanner, then the fact that she was in her backyard holding police at bay with an assault rifle.
Numerous officers ó both uniformed and in plain clothes ó rushed to the scene wearing bullet-resistant vests.
During the standoff, Bean had what appeared to be an assault rifle slung across her shoulders. She periodically shook the weapon in the air and in the direction of officers, then alternated between screaming, throwing her hands above her head and moving in and out of the storage building.
Officers sneaked around the corner of the building, then rushed and tackled Bean inside the structure. She could be heard screaming above the crash of bodies hitting the floor of the small building.
Traffic across the police scanner indicated officers in front of the building were talking to officers who were sneaking around its side. They told the officers on the side of the building to rush Bean after she was seen with a cigarette in one hand and a cell phone in the other.
Bean, her arms behind her, was led by officers from the building within minutes.
Sgt. Eric Ennis of the Spencer Police Department said Friday night that no charges have been filed, though they may be forthcoming.
“Luckily, it turned out good for everyone,” Ennis said. “Hopefully, she’ll get the help she needs.”
He said officers responded to the call after receiving a suicide threat. Ennis said the first officers to arrive didn’t get a response at the front door, then went to the back of the house where they encountered Bean holding an assault-type rifle. Ennis said he was told the gun was “an AR-15 type,” similar to that used by police.
Ennis said numerous officers conversed with Bean, trying to get her to drop the gun. He said she alternated between screaming at officers and asking them to kill her.
“I don’t think she was making a lot of sense,” Ennis said.
He said several of the responding officers were acquaintances of Bean’s, and tried to talk sensibly to her about the situation.
Ennis said officers eventually determined by the way Bean was holding the rifle that she wasn’t familiar with its use. He said officers rushed Bean when they saw her distracted with a cell phone conversation.
“They were able to take her to the ground and into custody,” Ennis said.
He said Bean was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center for an evaluation. Ennis said her only injuries were minor, nothing more than scrapes and bruises.
Told that several people who witnessed the incident said it could easily have ended far worse after Bean leveled the rifle at officers, Ennis said he was thankful no shots were fired.
“I think the officers handled it very well,” he said. “I’ve heard from several people who said we did a really good job.”
Spencer’s current mayor, Jody Everhart, arrived just after Bean was taken into custody.
“Whatever happened, I’m just glad it ended peacefully,” he said.
As the situation unfolded, Yadkin Avenue between Harrison and Newton streets was blocked. Officers from the Spencer Police Department, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and the East Spencer Police Department responded.
School buses rumbled along Harrison Street during the midst of the standoff, stopping to let off children less than a block away. The scene of the standoff is only a couple of blocks from North Rowan High School.
In addition to serving a two-year stint as mayor, Bean also served on the town’s Board of Aldermen from 2001-2005. From 2003-2005, she served as mayor pro tem, an honor bestowed upon the top vote-getter in the aldermen’s race.