Man charged after shoot out with authorities

Mar. 20, 2014 @ 04:29 PM

The Union County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a Stallings man Wednesday after shots were fired at a Deputy Sheriff and a North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper that morning.

The incident happened outside of the Circle K convenience store at 1071 Chestnut Lane, which is at the intersection of Potter’s Road.

James Eric Sims, 20, was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on government officer, possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying a concealed weapon, drunk and disruptive, possession of a malt beverage while underage, two counts of resist, delay and obstruct a public officer and discharging a firearm inside the town limits of Indian Trail.

According to investigators, Sims had gone into the store in an attempt to buy beer after hours and was refused the purchase by the clerk in the store. A few minutes later, Trooper W. L. Winchester stopped by the store on a routine business check, when Sims followed him back into the store. A verbal altercation took place and Sims was ordered to leave the store by Winchester. During the altercation, Winchester requested a back-up officer and Deputy K.C. Ciucevich was first to arrive on the scene a few minutes later.

When Ciucevich arrived, the two officers checked the outside of the store to see if Sims had left. They found Sims at the side of the store that faces Potter’s Road and Sims produced a handgun from his waistband and began firing shots at the officers. The officers returned fire and sought cover. No one was hit in the exchange as the officers reacted to the threat.

Sims fled toward Chestnut Lane. Additional officers arrived at the scene and began searching the area for Sims, who was later found a short distance from the store near Chestnut Lane by deputies and Stallings police.

Sims was taken to the Union County Jail and did not have a bond as of Wednesday afternoon. He has an April 29 court date in Union County District Criminal Court.

“We are extremely fortunate that these officers weren’t killed or injured in this incident. Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous profession and this incident underscores why officers cannot afford to treat any call as routine, any call for service can turn deadly in an instant. I’m proud that these officers reacted immediately to the threat presented to them, and that there were no injuries in this encounter,” Sherriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement.