AIKEN - Aiken police were in a standoff late Tuesday with a man who allegedly shot at a pharmaceutical delivery man.
The standoff led police to evacuate surrounding homes, block off a major thoroughfare and call in all available officers. Negotiators were attempting to talk the man out of the home at 11 p.m., but he remained holed up at 1212 Hampton Ave., said Capt. Tom Galardi with the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
"We hope this will end peacefully. If we have to go get him, we will," he said.
The delivery man was not injured. There did not appear to be hostages in the man's home, but police were not sure.
Capt. Galardi would not release the man's name, but according to neighbors and the January 2000 edition of the Cross Reference Directory, Joe Daniel Floyd lives in the house.
A neighbor said Mr. Floyd has had some hard times recently, including the death of his brother and separation from his wife. The suspect also had several fires at the home, which the Aiken Department of Public Safety came and extinguished, said neighbor Van Lanham, who lives nearby on Congress Drive.
"The man just tripped out," Mr. Lanham said.
The standoff began after Alan Canalejo, a deliveryman for Aiken Drug Co. Inc., went to the house about 7:30 p.m. to deliver a prescription. The two began arguing over a receipt, and Mr. Canalejo, 17, said he decided he should leave. As he was pulling his pickup out of the man's driveway, the man pulled out a gun and shot at him, striking his tire, Mr. Canalejo said.
When officers arrived, the man did not come out of the house. Aiken police called for help from the State Law Enforcement Division, Aiken County Sheriff's Office and Aiken Bloodhound Team.
"He shot at the person, so we don't want him shooting at anyone else," Capt. Galardi said. "We have our negotiator trying to talk to him by phone. We'll try to talk him out, and if that doesn't work, we'll try something harder."
Several officers with the Aiken County SWAT team were dressed in black fatigues with face masks and helmets and shields, preparing for the possibility of approaching the home.
Earlier, workers with South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. used long poles to turn off street lights around the home, making it harder for the suspect to see approaching SWAT team officers.
Hampton Avenue was blocked off in two directions, and motorists were re-directed to other streets. Law enforcement vehicles were crowded around a command post in a parking lot across the street from Kwick-Way convenience store.
The evacuations were ordered for residents living within a one-block area in all directions, the captain said.
"If he decided to randomly fire, we don't want the gunfire entering the homes," he said.
When the man is arrested, he will be charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, Capt. Galardi said.
Staff Writer Katie Throne contributed to this report.
Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (803) 279-6895.