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COVID-19 Testing Site In North Carolina Closed After Man Shows Up With Gun: Reports


KEY POINTS

  • The facility witnessed long lines that spilled into the streets, causing traffic issues
  • Neighbors complain that their driveways are blocked by COVID-19 test-takers
  • In another incident at the same site, a gun-wielding man threatened a worker 

A StarMed COVID-19 testing center in North Carolina had to be shut down after a man carrying a gun got involved in an altercation with a person waiting in line. 

The incident happened at a StarMed testing center in South Boulevard on Wednesday, reported WSOC-TV. The argument reportedly started after the long testing lines in front of the facility spilled into the streets and caused traffic issues. 

A person who lives in the neighborhood, identified as James Wood, said he asked someone waiting in line not to block the driveways with his car. This triggered an altercation between the duo. 

Wood claimed he had just gotten home from work when he noticed people have parked their vehicles in front of the driveways. He asked one person not to block the driveways, which led to an argument. However, Wood said he never pulled his gun.

“I came out to inform somebody that they was parking illegally, they wanted to get extra about it,” Wood said. “I never even reached for it, I said ‘I know you feel threatened because I have it.'”

Edgar Garcia, the driver involved in the argument, said he was waiting in line for about five hours.

“I got out of my car and I said, ‘You know what, I’m not intimidated by you. I said, ‘I don’t need you to be disrespecting people out here or disrespecting me,” Garcia told the news outlet. 

Police arrived at the scene and brought the situation under control. No one was hurt in the incident.

People in the neighborhood complain that the StarMed testing site is turning into a huge inconvenience.

“When their driveways get blocked they can’t get out,” Gail Thomas, a local resident, told WSOC-TV. “If their cars are too tight, there is nowhere for them to go and they have to wait until somebody moves.”

Mary Broderick, another person living in the area, said she wasn’t able to go anywhere in the mornings or afternoons because her driveway was constantly blocked by COVID-19 test takers. She said she will then have to negotiate with the drivers, who are most probably COVID-positive. 

Meanwhile, a man with a rifle threatened a staff member at the StarMed site the same day, reported Charlotte Observer.

StarMed CEO Michael Estramonte said he was aware of the problem.

“People are exhausted, that site was never meant to be a site where cars backed up into the community. Let’s band together, hopefully, this is just a couple more weeks and we’ll be over this,” Estramonte told WSOC-TV.

The U.S reported 869,187 new cases Wednesday, bringing the total tally of confirmed cases to 57,702,377. So far, 832,118 people died of COVID-19 in the country.

The arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in New York had people lining up for testing on December 17, 2021 Representation. A COVID-19 testing line. Photo: AFP / Ed JONES





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