Standoff cases set

Published 12:32 am Friday, October 28, 2011

Two men charged in police standoff to appear in court

Two men facing charges stemming from a June 15 standoff with law-enforcement officers in Washington are scheduled to appear in Beaufort County District Court on Monday, according to court records.

The two men were scheduled to appear in court Sept. 29, but their cases were continued until Monday.

The standoff involving Joseph Gary Gautier, 33, of 320 E. 12th St., ended peacefully with Gautier taken into custody and transported to Beaufort County Medical Center for evaluation. On June 21, Gautier was arrested and charged with making a false bomb report (a felony), discharging a firearm in the city limits and communicating threats. He was placed in the Beaufort County Detention Center under a $250,000 bond, but later he was released after posting bail.

During the standoff, Carter Leary, a relative of Gautier, was taken away in a marked car belonging to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Leary was charged with resisting a public officer (a Class 2 misdemeanor) and detained in the Beaufort County Detention Center that afternoon, according to an officer there. Leary was released from the jail by the afternoon of June 16.

The standoff began around 8 a.m. and ended about 4:45 p.m. when Gautier was taken into custody. Gautier had placed a call to the police telecommunications center early that morning, according to Washington police Chief Mick Reed.

Gautier “expressed some displeasure over some issues regarding his environment,” Reed said that afternoon.

The arrest warrant for making a false bomb report and discharging a firearm in the city reads that Gautier “did communicate a report by calling the Washington Police Department … knowing and having reason to know the report to be false and there was located in a house the doors were booby trapped with grenades and his backyard has ordinances (ordnance) a device designed to destroy and damage the house by explosion, blasting and burning.”

The warrant also notes that Magistrate Donald R. Sadler found probable cause that Gautier fired his 30-caliber Ruger handgun into the air and ground while in the city limits.

The arrest warrant for communicating threats reads, “The threat was communicated to Cliff Hales by telling him ‘I see you and I’m going in my house to get my 7mm to shoot you, your vest won’t stop anything I got.’ He also fired a weapon in the air and advised Cliff Hales ‘The next one’s gonna be in your head.’”

The warrant also reads that “the threat was made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat was likely to be carried out and the person threatened believed that the threat would be carried out.”

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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