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Currituck County manhunt ends, suspect in custody

The Currituck Sheriff's Office said Preston Mertes was in custody Tuesday morning.

GRANDY, N.C. — A manhunt for an armed suspect has ended in Currituck County, with the suspect being taken into custody Tuesday morning, the Currituck County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies first alerted residents in the area of Aydlett Road and Macedonia Church Road on Monday afternoon for a suspect who was considered armed and dangerous.

According to the sheriff's office, Currituck deputies took over a police pursuit from Dare County shortly after 4:30 p.m. over the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Stop sticks were deployed on the suspect's vehicle, which swerved and crashed into a ditch across from Macedonia Church Road. The driver, identified by deputies as 29-year-old Preston Mertes, allegedly exited the vehicle with a "rifle type" of weapon.

The sheriff's office said Mertes fired five shots and then fled into a wooded area. Deputies said the woods are "under containment" but Mertes remained at large through Monday night.

Deputies said they did not think there was a threat to any schools on Tuesday morning, but an extra patrol was placed in the elementary schools while Mertes was on the run.

Around 11 a.m., the sheriff's office updated on social media to say Mertes was now in custody and taken to a hospital for evaluation. Currituck County Schools posted on Facebook that the suspect had been taken into custody near Macedonia Church Road. 

Griggs Elementary School was under a precautionary lockdown but normal school activities have now resumed.

Authorities have not said what charges Mertes might be facing at this time.

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