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Police standoff turns out to be suicide

John Thompson • Updated Feb 13, 2020 at 10:35 PM

ELIZABETHTON — What was initially thought on Thursday afternoon to be a police standoff situation at the Traveler’s Inn on West Elk Avenue turned out to be a suicide.

The identity of the victim has not been released. Police said he fired one round from a gun in taking his life.

Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw said the incident began when hotel staff asked the man to leave the hotel room he had rented because time had expired. When the man refused, police were called in.

Shaw said an officer was dispatched to the hotel and arrived within five minutes. As the officer approached the room, a shot was fired at 2:39 p.m.

Hearing the shot, the officer took cover and radioed in that he had heard a shot from the room and more officers began arriving on the scene. First responders came from the Elizabethton Police Department, Carter County Sheriff’s Department,  Carter County Rescue Squad, and the Elizabethton Fire Department. The section of West Mill Street in front of the hotel up to the intersection with West Elk Avenue was barricaded to protect motorists from stray fire.

Officers kept trying get the man in the hotel room to communicate with them, but all attempts failed. It was finally decided to attempt entry into the room. When officers entered, they found the man’s body.