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Sheriff Tells County Residents To Arm Themselves In Wake Of Recent Violence

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File photo of a police car. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a police car. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) — The sheriff of Harnett County is telling residents to arm themselves due to a recent spike in violence in the area due to gangs.

Sheriff Larry Rollins told a crowd of more than 100 people at the Spring Hill United Methodist Church Monday that they need to be able to protect themselves against violence, WTVD-TV reports.

“When I am out with my family, even though I am a cop, I don’t go anywhere without a gun,” Rollins said during the “Pray for Peace” community meeting. “I mean it’s sad we have to have that attitude, but I am going to protect myself and my family.”

Rollins continued: “I want my deputies at your house just as fast as they possibly can when you got a problem, but you better be able to take care of business until we get there if you have to protect your family.”

WRAL-TV details that the meeting came after several shootings, including the death of 18-year-old Eric Staten, whose body was found behind a dumpster in Spring Lake.

“We are participating in this service for peace because we love our community and are concerned about recent acts of aggression,” Pastor Terry Williams told the crowd, according to WRAL.

Residents who attended the meeting expressed their fear to officials.

“I think they are working hard trying to get solutions for us which comforts us a little bit, but still knowing it’s out there and knowing it happens every day, still doesn’t make you feel safe,” Jamie Salmon told WDTV.

Rollins told those in attendance to report all suspicious activity, no matter how minor it may look.

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