Suspect identified in Pinnacle stabbing

By Nicholas Elmes -

PINNACLE — Law enforcement has identified the stabbing suspect who was shot and killed by officers during an hours-long police standoff Friday.

Lee Aaron Gerston, 33, was the name coming from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, said Maj. Jeff Lemons, of the Stokes County Sheriff’s Department. A family member confirmed the identity.

Paul Bradley, of Pinnacle, is recovering from multiple knife wounds received prior to the standoff.

Lemons said the incident began with a 5 p.m. call reporting a stabbing and armed robbery attempt at the Shear Country Hair and Tanning Salon on Old U.S. 52. Lemons said a preliminary investigation indicated that Gerston had entered the business displaying knives and had gotten into an altercation with Bradley, husband of the shop’s owner.

Moments after arriving at the scene, officers were told by witnesses that Gerston may be in a house further down Mill Street.

“Officers responded to the house and learned the suspect had barricaded himself in the house,” said Lemons.

When Gerston eventually exited the building a few hours later, around 9 p.m., he was brandishing knives in both hands, according to Lemons.

“He was told numerous times to stop and drop the weapons,” said Lemons. “He did not comply with those commands and kept walking toward the officers with the weapon and shots were fired.”

Before officers fired their weapons they attempted to stop Gerston with a taser, Lemons said Saturday.

“It did hit him, but it did not stop him,” said Lemons.

He said four officers, Sheriff Mike Marshall, Capt. Thomas Sands, Lt. Shannon Gammons, and Detective Sargeant Wade White, fired their service weapons at the subject.

“The family member advised the SBI that Gerston grew up in California, but had recently moved to the Knoxville, Tennessee, area,” Lemons reported. “The family member advised Gerston was taking a friend to a drug rehab somewhere in Virginia. It is unknown to investigators and the family how or why Gerston got to Stokes County in North Carolina.”

Lemons said the case was immediately turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation, following department protocols for any officer-involved shooting.

Lemons said Bradley had been treated and released from a Winston-Salem hospital.

By Nicholas Elmes

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.