RUTHERFORD COLLEGE, NC – While employees of the pharmacy where a man took three people hostage were given the day off Sunday, the man accused in the kidnapping and robbery remained in the hospital.
The suspect is Jerry Lee Clark, 48, of Burke County, said Major Banks Hinceman with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.
Hinceman said he has warrants for Clark’s arrest on three counts of first degree kidnapping and one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon from Saturday’s incident at the CVS Pharmacy in Rutherford College.
The warrants will be served once Clark is released from the hospital.
“He ingested medicine and was in and out of consciousness,” Hinceman said of Clark’s condition Saturday night.
Hinceman said they are not sure how much meds Clark took, but what he took were the pain relievers morphine and Dilaudid.
Deputies are guarding Clark’s hospital room until he is well enough to be questioned, booked and jailed.
Deputies were called to the CVS shortly before 5:30 p.m. Saturday after reports that a man entered the pharmacy, said he had a weapon and ordered everyone out except for the pharmacist and two other employees.
After about 80 minutes on the scene, deputies entered the pharmacy, used a stun gun on Clark, which didn’t work, and had to tackle him to subdue him.
Hinceman said witnesses reported seeing a gun but deputies only found a knife on Clark.
While no physical injuries were reported, Hinceman said the employees involved were “obviously shaken.”
He said, “It was a pretty tense situation to be in. We called in chaplains, and they came and talked with (employees).”
Mark Mautino, a CVS store manager from Hudson, said all of the Rutherford College employees were given Sunday off.
He said the store opened two hours late Sunday and with fill-in employees from other stores, including as far away as Statesville.
Mautino said CVS’s lost prevention team members were at the store Sunday reviewing and copying surveillance video from the previous night’s events.
Hinceman said deputies did not take possession of the video.
Deputies did not find Clark’s vehicle at the scene, but Hinceman said a man arrived on the scene during the stand-off and said he had been with Clark earlier.
Hinceman said the man was “intoxicated” but it wasn’t clear if he had dropped off Clark.
Just after noon Sunday the parking lot of the pharmacy was bustling with customers coming in and out, most of them dressed in church clothes.
Though no customers wanted to identify themselves, the mood was one of disbelief that three employees had been taken hostage less than 24 hours ago by an alleged robber in their normally peaceful town.
Rutherford College’s official town website describes itself as “a small, family-oriented town where neighbors (all 1,343 of them) look out for each other.”
As for Clark, he reportedly said he “wanted to die by police-officer suicide,” Hinceman told The News Herald on Saturday.
Clark is listed on the N.C. Sex Offender Registry for a 1997 indecent liberties with a 12-year-old crime in Rutherford County.
Hinceman said deputies aren’t sure of Clark’s most recent address, but the registry lists it as 3870 Hide Away Hill, Valdese. The registry lists one of his aliases as Hub Clark.