911 call placed before 15-hour Greensboro shooting standoff

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A 911 call placed before an armed Greensboro man opened fire on a police officer outside his home -- the start of what would become a day-long standoff -- was released Thursday.

Jimmy Albert Burleson, 41, barricaded himself inside his home at 421 Westdale Place after a brief shootout with a police officer around 5 a.m.  The officer responded to Burleson's home to check on him after a woman called 911, saying that he appeared delusional.

LISTEN: 911 Call Placed Before 15-hour Standoff in Greensboro

"He has been screaming (that he's God) for about 30 minutes on the front porch.  I mean like delusional kind of stuff," the woman said.

When asked by the dispatcher, the caller indicated that she didn't think Burleson would be under the influence of any alcohol or drugs.

"Last time I saw him he was in a t-shirt and nothing else. He pulled down his pants when he was screaming 'I am God' -- or I don't know," she said.  "I think the guy has like flipped out."

Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller said when the officer arrived and tried approaching Burleson, he started shooting at the officer with what was described as an "automatic weapon."

The officer returned fire with both a handgun and shotgun until the suspect retreated back inside the home, Miller said.

Neither the officer nor Burleson were injured in the exchange of gunfire. Police have not confirmed what type of gun Burleson used.

Officers negotiated with Burleson for about 15 hours before taking a small window of an opportunity to swiftly restrain him when he briefly stepped outside around 7:40 p.m.

Police officers have remained with Burleson as he undergoes mental health evaluations at Moses Cone Hospital.

Burleson is to be charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer.

The officer involved in the exchange of gunfire was identified as Senior Officer C. Stevens Jr., who has been with the department since April 1998.  An internal investigation will be conducted into Stevens' actions during the incident, as is custom with all officer-involved shootings.

Besides dozens of officers armed with guns, one metal member of their force worth $140,000 was equipped with a camera and a set of wheels.

“It's almost like operating a video game.  It’s all hand eye coordination,” Officer Trent Walker said.

Officers deploy devices like the 350-lb. robot in situations that may be too dangerous for them to enter in-person.

“It’s probably one of the most important pieces of equipment we have,” Walker said.  “We’re possibly saving officers lives by using this because we don’t have to send them down into the hot zone the danger zone.”

Police used the robot’s eyes, ears and set of steel hands to communicate with Burleson throughout the standoff.  Other times, authorities use similar robots to handle hazardous chemicals or devices such as bombs.

“We would rather lose a piece of equipment than a person's life,” Walker said.

The robot goes out on about 1/2 of the calls the police department’s Hazard team is called out to, which equates to about 25 times each year.

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