SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg County deputies are searching for a suspect they say is considered armed and dangerous.
Investigators say, Robert Junior Merck, also known as “Short,” is wanted for pointing a weapon at deputies outside a home on Pioneer Place in Spartanburg County on Friday.
“Must have been like 12 SUV’s up there,” Johnny Jones told 7News.
That’s the first thing Jones saw on his way to workout early Friday morning.
Spartanburg County deputies, the SWAT team and the K9 team were staged near Pioneer Place for hours, but Jones says he wasn’t concerned until he saw helicopters in the sky.
“There were 2 helicopters searching so I figured it was something might important to have 2 helicopters looking,” Jones told 7News.
Investigators say around 4:20 a.m. Friday deputies responded to Pioneer Place after getting a tip that a man was pointing weapons at 2 newspaper carriers.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they saw 3 people standing around a white sedan. One man matched the description of the person they were looking for.
As the deputy approached the white sedan, Merck stepped into the roadway, pointed a long gun at the patrol car and shook his head, according to the incident report.
The deputy put his car in reverse and moved away from the man. When the deputy was able to see the white sedan again, he saw that Merck was holding another handgun down by his side.
The deputy activated his lights, got out of the patrol car and pointed his gun at Merck. The deputy then ordered Merck to put down the weapon. Investigators say that’s when Merck and a woman ran behind a house.
The deputy approached the vehicle and arrested Deon Jamal Smith, 28, of Spartanburg after Smith refused to comply with the deputy’s commands.
Smith was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute ecstacy.
“This used to be such a great neighborhood to live in,” said Anita Shipman.
Additional deputies arrived on scene and continued to search for Merck.
Deputies then found the woman hiding in a shed along with 2 other weapons. The woman was taken into custody, according to the sheriff’s office. Detectives say the woman was not charged.
A K-9 Unit was deployed after deputies tracked Merck into the woods. Investigators say a gunshot was heard near the area where the K9 team was searching. The team took cover.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Greenville County helicopter and the SCSO SWAT team arrived at the scene to help the K-9 tracking team safely exit the woods.
However, deputies were unable to locate Merck.
“There’s so many places back there for somebody to hide,” Jones told 7New.
Jones says he’s making sure his doors are locked. “You never know where he’s at or where he might show up.”
Smith will go before a judge for a bond hearing Saturday morning.
Merck is wanted for three counts of pointing and presenting a firearm, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crash and possession with intent to deliver marijuana.
Anyone with information on Merck’s location can remain anonymous by calling 911 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-274-6372. Deputies say tipsters could be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to Merck’s arrest.
Deputies said two people were taken into custody following a search that prompted a school lockout in Spartanburg County.
Spartanburg County School District 6 officials said Jesse S. Bobo Elementary School was placed on a lockout Friday morning, after law enforcement said they were searching for a suspect in the nearby area.
Our 7News crew saw Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office vehicles on Pioneer Place just after 9 a.m. Friday.
Dispatchers told us earlier that deputies were checking on something at Pioneer Place and Carver Mill Road. Questions were referred to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier Friday morning, our crew was at the intersection of Ethel and Powell Mill roads and a sheriff’s office deputy told our crew to stay in the parking lot of Spartanburg Methodist College.
Our crew also got video of a helicopter dropping off a deputy at Jesse S. Bobo Elementary School.
According to Robinson, the school district notified parents of the lockout by sending out a phone call.
Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said two people had been detained and were being interviewed. No additional details have been provided at this time.
Keep checking back for updates on this story as more information is released.