PERSON COUNTY, N.C. – The Person County sheriff now believes a deadly officer-involved shooting Tuesday was planned as a "suicide by cop."

The Person County Sheriff's Department says Kent Earl Pittman, 56, was sitting on the back porch of his home at 2269 Antioch Church Road in Timberlake at approximately 9:42 a.m. Tuesday when a deputy arrived to the residence to serve an order to evict him.

Upon arrival, Pittman was seen sitting on the back porch holding a gun to his head. 

A confrontation escalated when Pittman refused to lower the gun and the deputy called for backup.

As other deputies were en route to the location, the deputy who arrived on scene first negotiated with Mr. Pittman about putting the firearm down. When additional agents arrived they staged and assumed tactical positions for assistance in hope for a non-lethal resolution.

Jones said officers did everything to work with the man, but once he pointed the gun at deputies, they opened fire.

After more than 70 minutes of negotiations with Mr. Pittman, he then pointed the weapon at the officer, at which time three officers fired at him.

The deputies that fired shots were Lt. Ryan Weaver, Sgt. Michael Rogers and Sgt. Dustin Harris. 

Investigators found a note inside the man's home with directions on what to do with his belongings.

"He left a note. I would not say it was a suicidal note,” said Jones. “He left a note saying who to get the car, all of his contact people, contact his pastor, and he actually told the officer before this incident, 'You need to find the note.'"

The SBI is still investigating.

Three deputies remain on desk duty for now.

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