At 7AM Thursday Morning, in Rocky Mount NC, United States Marshals attempted to service a warrant to Robert Looney. The warrant stems from an attempted murder in which Looney was involved earlier this year in Baltimore, MD.
According to sources, US Marshals received a tip that Looney was hiding out at his girlfriend’s residence at 717 Kinchen Drive, Rocky Mount. This residence was also the home of a man, his wife and three children.
As Marshals tried to serve the warrant, shots were fired coming from the house. The Marshals scattered for safety as Looney barricaded himself inside the home, along with the girlfriend . At the time of the incident in it’s early stages Thursday morning, there were reports that have not been confirmed by authorities from the SBI and US Marshalls Service that three children were inside the home at the time, as the US Marshals tried to serve the warrant.
Media sources have reported that the girlfriend is Flora Green. Thursday afternoon, the owner of the house Christee McNeil went to the scene of the standoff after the US Marshals Service telephoned her around noon to inform her that her house was indeed the location of the standoff. Talking to the frenzy of media located in and around Kinchen Drive, Ms McNeil identified Green as the “other woman” living in the house and presumably the hostage in question.
As reported, Green apparently had a prior relationship with Robert Looney when she lived in Baltimore.
As Looney barricaded himself in the house, the US Marshals called for backup which included the local Rocky Mount Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. As the standoff drew out, other resources were gathered at the scene including the SBI bomb squad and State arson units. A Nash County EMS medical unit was also dispatched to assist.
At 12:30pm, Thursday afternoon, a local Red Cross vehicle was spotted going into the area with food, drinks and cigarettes apparently asked for by the gunman.
Fox45, a Baltimore TV station, reported that Looney called the station four times from inside the Rocky Mount home which is something he did during a similar incident in 2007. During that event, he barricaded himself inside a West Baltimore home and attempted to avoid capture after he was connected with a home invasion, which resulted in the resident of the home being shot several times.
Negotiations continued until 5:15pm, at which time four high pitched shots were heard. According to the SBI, as Looney was attempting to release the female hostage, he came outside and used her for cover as he ran to a vehicle in an effort to flee authorities.
According to Chief Robert Pettit, a United States Marshal, Looney was immediately apprehended, after being shot. He was whisked away by authorities and EMS personnel to Nash General Hospital for medical assessment and stabilization.
Although Looney’s gunshot wounds were not considered life threatening, he was transported to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, where the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has a regional office.
Chief Pettit declined to be interviewed on camera. However, he did say the SBI and US Marshals office would issue a joint press release late Thursday night. By midnight, the house at 717 Kinchen Drive was still considered a crime scene. As of yet, no press release has been issued.
Issues and questions still remain as to why the US Marshals Service picked this particular time and place to apprehend a very dangerous criminal. A criminal known to have, in the past, barricaded himself in a Baltimore house: a situation not unlike the events that transpired Thursday, in Rocky Mount.
Were the Marshals aware that other people were in the house at the time they tried to take Looney into custody? Did they know Looney was armed with a weapon? Was local law enforcement made aware of the Marshals intentions to capture Looney prior to this turning into a hostage situation?
As the authorities piece together the events of Thursday and as they do an internal investigation to determine what went right and what went wrong, hopefully these questions can be answered.
Below are pictures of Thursday’s events: