Man remains in critical condition after being hit by Taser, shotgun blast

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 5, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — A Salisbury man remained in critical condition Friday, a day after he tried to kill himself at his South Ellis Street home.
John Knox Bridges, 50, shot himself in the left torso with a shotgun Thursday morning after a police officer shot Bridges with a Taser in an attempt to incapacitate him.
Bridges had delivered a note to a neighbor who became concerned he would harm himself. The neighbor contacted the Salisbury Police Department.
Several years ago, Bridges was accused of stealing money from the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation while he served as its vice president.
He was also accused of misusing $600,000 from the Minnesota-based Lindbergh Foundation while he was president of that organization.
He was fired from the Lindbergh Foundation and later asked to step down from the Transportation Museum foundation.
He was also accused in 2000 of pilfering more than $800,000 in proceeds that should have gone to North Carolina fresco artist Ben Long when he negotiated contracts for Long’s work beginning in early 2000.
Long sued Bridges in 2008 and Bridges settled for an undisclosed amount.
It was unclear if any of that played into the events at Bridges’ home on Thursday.
Around 10:30 a.m., officers arrived at Bridges’ home at 207 S. Ellis St. They found him armed with a shotgun, which he had turned toward himself.
A trained negotiator spoke with bridges in his garage for about 30 minutes.
With both hands free of the shotgun, Bridges was smoking a cigarette in one hand and holding a bottle of water in the other.
An officer standing nearby used that opportunity to stun Bridges with a Taser.
But Bridges, sitting on the garage floor, was apparently not affected by the Taser’s barbs and pulled the trigger on the shotgun, which was on the ground next to him.
Police Chief Rory Collins said the officer acted appropriately and that if he hadn’t stunned Bridges, he might have succeeded in taking his own life.
Bridges, a native of Mecklenburg County, was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center and later transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.