UPDATE: The Currituck County Sheriff’s Office says Preston Mertes is now in custody.
CURRITUCK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – The Currituck County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man who allegedly fired five shots at deputies after they disabled his car on Caratoke Highway Monday during a pursuit, the sheriff’s office said.
As a precaution, there will be extra patrols Tuesday at Griggs Elementary School and Jarvisburg Elementary School, the district confirmed.
A post on the official Currituck County Government Facebook page Monday afternoon came with the warning: “stay inside your homes.”
The post said there was an incident where a man with an assault rifle fired shots in the 5800 block of Caratoke Highway. Google Maps shows this is near a self-storage business. It’s also just down the way from the popular Digger’s Dungeon attraction.
The subject involved is on foot; he was last seen around 4:45 p.m. Monday and has been identified by law enforcement as 29-year-old Preston Mertes.
The Currituck County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said the incident started as a traffic stop turned pursuit in Dare County, which the CCSO took over just past the Wright Memorial Bridge. Deputies used a tool to flatten Mertes’ tires, causing him to crash into a ditch across from Macedonia Church Road.
Mertes got out of his car armed with a “rifle type weapon”, then fired five shots in the direction of deputies as he ran into the woods, the sheriff’s office confirmed.
Law enforcement shut down Caratoke Highway between Aydlett Road and Macedonia Church Road while they investigated.
The CCSO says it notified residents and the school system of the incident and developing situation.
If you see anything suspicious, call 9-1-1. Do not approach the individual; he is considered armed and dangerous.