About 7 p.m., a two-hour standoff in downtown Asheville ended without incident, as Hilton Head, S.C.-resident Kenneth Allison surrendered peacefully. Police took Allison to Mission Hospital for evaluation and have filed commitment papers.
Around 4:30 p.m., an Asheville Police Officer pulled over Allison, who refused to leave his vehicle after he parked on Otis Street behind the RBC Centura Bank and across from the U.S. Courthouse. While attempting to negotiate with Allison, officers blocked off the streets and called in backup, including the APD’s SWAT unit, dressed in green riot gear, .
A photo taken by Ashevillean C.J. Mason during the standoff: .
Bystanders were asked to back away from vantage points. At one point, an officer shouted at an Asheville Citizen-Times photographer to get off the nearby roof after another officer said, “He’s compromising our ability to negotiate.”
Citizen-Times staffers Paul Clark and Nancy Sluder livestreamed video of the standoff from their computer room.
Allison, who had previously been arrested Aug. 18 for a standoff incident in Hilton Head, first drew the attention of APD after he went to ReMax Realty on Aug. 30 to “buy some property,” according to the local department’s official statement.
“The Remax business owner contacted police and said that Mr. Allison had been behaving strangely while working with an agent,” the statement reads. “He told police that that after being shown some properties, Mr. Allison remained in the business’ parking lot for more than an hour, apparently cleaning out his trunk.”
The Aug. 31 standoff ensued after the APD pulled Allison over “to check on his welfare” and he refused to stop.
Speaking to Xpress and other media at the scene, Capt. Daryl Fisher said it’s unlikely that charges would be filed against Allison, though he faces charges for improper use of 911 from the Hilton Head standoff. He added that the APD had established a barricade due to the fact that Allison was known to be armed in the previous standoff, and due to concerns about his mental state.
“Luckily, we had officers nearby,” Fisher told media. “Just as a precaution, we called the SWAT guys out, but we didn’t need them. He [Allison] just wanted to know what we wanted him for.
“This is exactly how I like to see it end,” he continued. “If we can speak to someone, doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as we’re able to talk it out, that’s the best outcome.”
— David Forbes, senior news reporter