Gaston Co. election official surrenders in police standoff

Credit: NBC Charlotte

Gaston Co. election official surrenders in police standoff


by Staff

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 17 at 6:08 PM

Gastonia in standoff

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GASTONIA, N.C. -- A Gaston County Elections official could be facing charges after a standoff with police at his home. Officers say it all started when the suspect was being served with court papers.

"When I was heading out for school, heard the gunshots and kept walking," said neighbor Mari Curet.

Neighbors along East 5th Avenue in Gastonia were told to leave their homes early Wednesday morning after Gaston County Board of Elections Member, Conrad Pogorzelski fired shots inside his home during a standoff with police.
"He talked with the officers constantly from 9:00 until 10:45. [It was] just a lot of conversation about a lot of different things-- things he was concerned about," said Steven Duncan with Gastonia Police Department.
AirStar captured video of when Pogorzelski finally came out with his arms up and surrendered.  

Police say the standoff began while they were serving Pogorzelski court papers. Sources tell NBC Charlotte they were “involuntary commitment” papers.

Sheriff Alan Cloninger says this is 100-percent out of character for Pogorzelski, who had been calling him for the past four weeks.
 "I've known him a long time, and he was voicing some concerns that he had and I've discussed it with his family," said Sheriff Cloninger.
Then Sheriff Cloninger says his behavior escalated.
"This morning when he called me at five-- he seemed to be a little more agitated; he's never been a violent man or anything of that nature, so I called the city and advised them of the situation," said Cloninger.
Police say he's even been involved in a few disturbances as of late, which for the county official and local real estate owner was out of the norm. So they're thankful for the outcome.
 "It's what you always strive for, he walks out with hands up and that's what happened, and it was an absolute victory," said Duncan.
Still neighbors say it was enough to keep them away from the home in the future.
 "It's crazy. I've never been so close to the gunshots, so I'm just going to be a little more careful now," said Curet.
Police say Pogorzelski will be subject to a mental evaluation. Then he could be charged for firing his gun inside his home.