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Law enforcement suspends search for shooting suspect

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A K9 officer with the N.C. Department of Public Safety emerges from a woody area off Villa Drive with his K9 partner, during a police search Wednesday for a local man wanted in connection with a recent shooting incident.

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By Julian Eure
Managing Editor

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Law enforcement officials suspended their search Wednesday night for a local man wanted on a number of shooting-related charges who managed to avoid an intensive, hours-long manhunt.

City Manager Rich Olson said police Chief Eddie Buffaloe Jr. informed him that the search for Caprie Anthony Paige would end about 8 p.m. Buffaloe suspended the search because he believed continuing it in darkness "would not be effective," Olson said.

Nonetheless, he said police efforts to locate Paige would go on. "There are other avenues to address this issue," Olson said.

Prior to suspending the search, more than 100 law enforcement officers were methodically searching for him in a thickly wooded, swampy area west of the city.

Speaking shortly after 6 p.m., Buffaloe said officers were searching for Paige near Parsonage Street Extended. Buffaloe said police had started the search for Paige approximately six hours earlier after he fled officers who were attempting to serve him with outstanding warrants.

Paige, 22, and whose last known address is the 300 block of East Church Street, is one of two suspects in a Sept. 2 incident in which police say the men shot into an occupied vehicle on Edge Street. No injuries were reported in the incident.

In addition to discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, Paige and Khyree Dashaun Banks, 25, are charged with discharging a firearm in the city limits and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

According to a press release, police received a Crime Line tip that Paige was at the Traveler’s Inn motel off North Road Street. However, he fled after apparently learning police were looking for him.

Police initially appeared to be looking for Paige in an neighborhood behind the motel, according to a reporter who went to the scene. Their search then expanded to a wooded area that borders Knobbs Creek.

As the search for Paige continued, more law enforcement agencies joined the hunt. According to Buffaloe and Olson, deputies from Pasquotank, Gates, Camden, Chowan, Perquimans and Currituck counties participated in the search. Also assisting were state troopers, correctional officers, firefighters and state wildlife officers. Olson also said a “PERT” team consisting of 45 officers from different law enforcement agencies across the region also joined the search.

City police also used the department’s drone to fly overhead and capture images of the area where police believed Paige to be. Also helping in the hunt were three K-9 units. After police believed Paige entered the northern branch of Knobbs Creek, wildlife officers in jon boats and firefighters in fire boats also joined the search.

Olson said searchers believe Paige crossed Knobbs Creek at some point and disappeared into a swampy area on the creek’s western side that’s thick with foliage. That foliage was blocking the police department’s drone from seeing much from the air, he said.

Police set up a perimeter around the area where they believed Paige to be. Olson said earlier on Wednesday he thought the perimeter was roughly bounded by Main Street Extended, Lover’s Lane and Creek Road.

“We don’t believe he’s broken the perimeter,” Olson said shortly before 6 p.m.

With night approaching, Buffaloe suggested the search would get even more difficult.

“Darkness is going to hinder us,” Buffaloe said. “We can’t see in there without sunlight.”

He said the search would go on as long as officials felt it was safe for officers to conduct it.

“We’ve got to look out for the safety of our officers,” he said.

Asked if he believed police will find Paige, Buffaloe said “At some point.”

“Right now he’s bedded down in there. He’ll have to contend with the mosquitoes and wildlife,” he said.

The search for Paige affected the operations of a number of agencies and businesses near the Traveler’s Inn. Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, College of The Albemarle and the Albemarle Family YMCA all locked down their facilities after being asked by police do so.

A Sentara Albemarle spokeswoman said during the hospital’s lockdown, employees were stationed at the faclity’s locked doors to let in and let out visitors patients.

COA canceled the evening classes on its Elizabeth City campus, according to a message on its answering machine.

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