SHELBY, N.C. — Authorities say a 27-year-old man wanted on gun charges was killed in an overnight shootout with Shelby police officers.
Shelby police Chief Jeff Ledford told Channel 9 that officers were serving a warrant around 1 a.m. at a home in the 1300 block of South Dekalb Street when they spotted Joey J. Bridges Jr. in front of the house.
Ledford said that Bridges who was wanted for possession of a firearm by a felon, went around the back of the house where he confronted two officers, Sgt. John Hamrick and Officer Brandon Smith, and gunfire was exchanged.
Bridges was killed in the shooting.
Hamrick and Smith were not hurt but have been placed on leave, which is standard procedure.
A woman who lives off Morton Street told Channel 9 that she saw Bridges outside her home and then watched him run around the corner to Dekalb Street.
Shortly afterwards, she heard what sounded like gunshots.
“It’s scary that it can happen so close, in the middle of the night when you think you’re safe, is the scary part about it,” said Mary Winslow. “My kids play outside every day until the sun goes down, so it’s very scary.”
Joey Bridges Sr. said his son battled with a meth addiction that changed him.
His son told him before he wanted police to kill him, but he surrendered peacefully instead.
He believes Sunday night his son found the courage to do the wrong thing.
"He wasn't happy, he wasn't,” Joey Bridges Sr. said. “Something was wrong."
He said his son had a long history with police and nagging feeling of dread.
"He had a troubled life and he didn't slow down,” Joey Bridges Sr. said.
Sunday night, police came to the Bridge's house looking for Joey Bridges Jr.
He had told his father how he would do it before.
"He is going to fire at them to get them to shoot him,” the father said. “He said he couldn't stand it no more.”
"It's sad,” Shelby police Chief Jeff Ledford. “The whole situation is sad."
Joey Bridges Sr. doesn't blame police for his son's death, but he blames the drugs he said his son was hooked on.
"It was drugs that caused the problem and it wasn't him," the father said.
Joey Bridges Jr. was the father of three children.
The SBI is investigating the shooting.
Bridges was killed in the shooting. Hamrick and Smith were not hurt but have been placed on leave, which is standard procedure.
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