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SWAT standoff gawker climbs pole, uses his AR-15 rifle with scope for better view

An AR-15 rifle
An AR-15 rifle McClatchy

A crime scene gawker in rural Burke County got in the cross hairs of a SWAT team earlier this week after he climbed atop a utility pole and used the scope on an AR-15 rifle to get a better view.

The SWAT team was outside a trailer Monday, searching for an armed and dangerous man who might be hiding in the woods.

It’s not tough to imagine what happened next.

“SWAT and other deputies had to pull away from the trailer on two occasions to investigate a sighting of the possible suspect on a power line overlooking the trailer,” according to a statement from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

“The person was located and turned out to be a local resident with an AR-15 assault rifle, who was observing the scene from a distance. … He was in the magnified optics of SWAT.”

Burke County officials identified the onlooker only as “a young neighbor.”

“Our mission is to protect all persons around a crime scene and we want to keep our focus on locating and keeping a dangerous suspect from harming any innocent persons,” according to a statement released by the department Wednesday.

“The sheriff’s office reminds … neighbors and curiosity seekers to obey the commands of law enforcement and remain outside of the areas of danger.”

Deputies were at the trailer searching for Paul Alan Hyler, 55, who is accused of shooting Andrew Jackson, 43, in the abdomen during a domestic dispute Monday morning.

Hyler surrendered on Tuesday, “wet, covered in mud” and wearing a pistol on his hip, officials said. He was taken before a magistrate and given a $100,000 secured bond.

Jackson was listed in stable condition Wednesday at a hospital, deputies said.

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