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Charges Filed In Connection To Alexander County Standoff

53-year-old James Oliver Steele of Taylorsville was arrested by Taylorsville Police Friday (February 2). According to our news partner WACB, he’s charged with discharging a firearm in city limits, going armed to the terror of the public, carrying a concealed weapon, damage to property, and traffic offenses including driving while impaired and reckless driving with wanton disregard.

As WHKY previously reported, Steele is alleged to have struck two utility poles on Main Street in Taylorsville on Wednesday, January 24. He was not seriously injured. When emergency staff arrived, Steele was reportedly armed and making threats to harm himself.

A standoff followed as Taylorsville Police, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded. Steele remained in his pickup for nearly an hour before he fired a shot causing no injury to himself or others. He then surrendered the handgun and was taken to a medical facility for treatment.

Taylorsville Elementary School and Alexander Central High School were both placed on Code-In status during the incident. The nearby Taylorsville First Baptist Church Daycare also kept children inside during the standoff. A section of Main Street was closed for hours to replace the utility poles.

Steele is the Pastor at East Taylorsville Baptist Church. He was released on $10,000 bond. His initial appearance is scheduled for February 26 in Alexander County District Court.

[Story and photo of Steele courtesy of Rick Gilbert, WACB]