ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – A man accused of opening fire near a middle school, which prompted a lockdown, was firing at two law enforcement officers who were conducting surveillance near his property, according to a federal complaint.
Gary Lynn Gatlin, 48, of Orrum, surrendered to the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday. He faces a federal charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 8, ATF agents began surveillance on suspected firearm traffickers who were believed to be on Water Tower Road in the vicinity of Orrum, N.C.
The suspect allegedly approached them on a lawnmower and stated, “What are y’all (expletive) doing on my G.D. land?” the complaint stated.
Gatlin allegedly became very irate and told one of the agents “I’ll blow your head off!” before leaving on the lawnmower.
A few minutes later, the agents reportedly saw Gatlin returning and carrying what appeared to be a shotgun. He allegedly fired one round in the air before firing more rounds at the agents’ vehicle, striking it each time, according to the criminal complaint.
Agents reportedly did not return fire due to a mobile home and individuals being in the area of the suspect. They left the area and called for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office to respond. Both allegedly identified Gatlin as the person who shot at them.
Deputies searched the suspect’s property and a shotgun matching the description the agents gave was reportedly discovered.
Prior to this incident, Gatlin had been convicted of common law robbery in Robeson County.