ROSE HILL – Jimmy Norman Bland, 84, is in critical condition after a Duplin County Sheriff’s Office deputy, responding to a call for shots fired, shot and injured the armed man.

The deputy had been called to the scene at 661 Stocking Head Road in Rose Hill, on Saturday, Dec. 25, at 3:33 p.m., according to a Duplin County Sheriff’s Office press release.

According to law enforcement officials, upon arrival at the scene the responding deputy met with the victim and then encountered Jimmy Norman Bland, a white male, of 659 Stocking Head Road in Rose Hill.

“Bland was armed with a rifle and had been shooting at his neighbor’s house,” said the press release. “The deputy instructed Bland to put the gun down but Bland pointed the rifle at the deputy and refused to lower it, prompting the deputy to shoot Bland.

Law enforcement reported that Bland was airlifted to a hospital in Greenville and is in critical condition.

“The individual remains hospitalized at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina,” said District Attorney, Ernie Lee. “The deputy was not physically injured.”

Sheriff Blake Wallace contacted District Attorney Lee that same afternoon and they jointly requested an investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

The deputy, whose name has not been released to the public, is on paid administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said District Attorney Lee, who reported he was in contact with Sheriff Wallace and the SBI special agent assigned to the investigation on Tuesday, Dec. 28.

“All statements, reports, and evidence will be provided by the SBI to me to determine what actions if any, this office will take,” Lee said.

Ena Sellers may be reached at esellers@ncweeklies.com