GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A chaotic scene in Gaston County on Sunday along Stoney Oaks Drive resulted in a shootout with police.
The day started with three separate 911 calls; the first was about an abandoned, wrecked car with an assault-style rifle left inside.
The second call was four hours later when the homeowner told Queen City News he watched a man shoot at him on his property.
Here’s how Gaston County Police handled the call:
“The RP is advising that he heard gunshots and there was a suspect shooting at him. He was advised to go back in the home.
10-4 We got another caller calling from 5237 saying that she heard it as well.
10-4, it appears multiple subjects shooting skeet just up the road on Freedom Mill. That’s probably what they’re hearing.
10-4. I believe so, but that was the son that was calling in, making sure that officers were going out to that area.”
The homeowner tells Queen City News he’s furious that officers didn’t take him seriously.
Those who live around here say it was clear what was going on wasn’t recreational.
“The man had shot at the resident who lives here, and that’s when they called the police out,” said neighbor Tim Cunningham. “They were looking for the suspect and didn’t find him.”
An hour later, after police left for a second time, the family called 911 after walking outside to see a stranger holding a gun to their father’s head inside their garage — also threatening to shoot anyone who moved.
“That’s scary that it happened right there,” Cunningham said. “And they held him at gunpoint. That’s wild.”
For whatever reason, the suspect, later identified as 33-year-old Matthew Buford, took off running into the woods.
Officers are heard discussing areas they did or did not search earlier in the day.
How far did you all check around the woods earlier? One asked over the police radio.
Facing the house, we were far left of the house. Not behind the garage.
According to Gaston County Police, Buford shot at multiple officers who returned fire, hitting the suspect.
A K-9 unit found Buford still on the property. Buford has since been released from the hospital and charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, 2nd-degree kidnapping, and a slew of other charges.
The SBI is now investigating the shooting.
The family is relieved the terrifying ordeal is behind them, but they say the police dropped the ball and didn’t take their concerns seriously, nearly costing them their lives.
QCN has reached out to Gaston County Police for comment on those claims.