Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell has released the name of the man who died and other details of a standoff with multiple shots fired in the Fleetwood area on the night of Jan. 15 and morning of Jan. 16.
On Wednesday, Howell identified the man who died at the scene as Landwell Vance McCall, 50, of Gamewell in Caldwell County.
The sheriff said McCall fired shots at Ashe deputies as they arrived on the scene in response to information the Ashe 911 Center received related to a welfare check in Fleetwood. The information was received at 5:59 p.m. Jan. 15.
Howell said McCall, in a camper, fired multiple shots at officers and pinned them in place for a short time during their initial approach to his location.
At about 7 p.m., law enforcement from surrounding counties were asked to bring resources that might be needed throughout the night. This included the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad.
“As teams began entering our command post, we prepared evacuations of surrounding homes,” said Howell. Armored vehicles from neighboring counties were used to safely evacuate people from homes surrounding the active shooter, he said.
“During this and the entire time, negotiations were taking place with Mr. McCall. The subject was threatening to shoot any law enforcement officer on the scene and would only allow limited negotiations. McCall stated several times he would blow up his camper and nearby homes using explosives.
Howell said that after speaking with McCall for several hours, officers didn’t believe the threat involving explosives was credible.
He said that around midnight, a robot controlled by the State Bureau of Investigation was deployed to the camper instead of a having an officer go face to face with McCall. The robot allowed law enforcement to view the area and communicate with McCall, he said.
Howell said that at 1:40 a.m. Jan. 16, a deputy fatally shot McCall as he fired towards law enforcement. The name of the deputy hasn’t been made public.
“We immediately requested the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a full investigation into the matter, which is standard procedure for the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office” with an officer-involved shooting, he said.
Many firearms were found in the camper, but no explosive devices located anywhere within. The Wilkes Sheriff’s Office bomb squad was utilized to search for explosives.
Agencies involved in the standoff were the SBI; Ashe, Wilkes, Watauga and Alleghany sheriff’s offices; West Jefferson, Jefferson, Boone and Appalachian State University police departments; N.C. Highway Patrol and state probation officers in Ashe.
Howell said West Jefferson, Fleetwood and Warrensville volunteer fire departments; Ashe Medics; Watauga County Emergency Management and Watauga Emergency Medical Services also assisted.