Deputy shoots, kills Jackson man

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

JACKSON – Two Northampton County deputies have been placed on administrative leave in the wake of a deadly shooting here Tuesday afternoon.

Northampton County Sheriff Wardie Vincent reported that Robert McKinley Edwards, 55, died Tuesday night at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville after being struck by at least two bullets fired by deputies at the scene of a domestic call.

Sheriff Vincent said deputies C. Jackson and J. Stevens both discharged their weapons during the incident, which occurred at around 4 p.m. at a residence located at 6591 Highway 305 north of Jackson. He said it is believed that the fatal shots were fired by only one of the two deputies.

Jackson and Stevens are on administrative leave while the North Carolina SBI investigates the incident. It is proper procedure for the SBI to investigate a law enforcement related shooting.

A third deputy at the scene, V. Powell, did not discharge their weapon and is not subject to administrative leave.

In a statement to the News-Herald, Sheriff Vincent said this was “a bad situation anyway you look at it.”

“We would much rather have had this call end in a peaceful manner, but unfortunately it did not turn out that way,” Vincent said. “Thankfully, no one else was injured.”

The Sheriff said the dispatcher at his office received a call concerning a subject at 6591 Highway 305 who was allegedly involved in an assault, performing property damage and threatening to burn a dwelling.

Upon arriving at the residence, the three deputies discovered that Edwards was alone inside.

“The deputies could see Mr. Edwards on the inside of the residence, but their pleas to have him to come outside so things could be talked through went unheeded,” Vincent said.

The Sheriff added that at one point, Edwards opened the front door and partially stepped outside of the home. At that point, the deputies asked him to show them his hands and to remain outside.

“All of a sudden, he closed the front door and then the front window of the residence was shattered,” Vincent said. “We don’t know for sure how the window shattered, but we have a pretty good idea.”

Vincent said Edwards then fired several shots in the direction of where the deputies’ vehicles were parked. One bullet struck and shattered the passenger’s side window of a law enforcement vehicle.

Edwards then allegedly emerged from the residence, fired at least one more shot and threatened to kill the deputies. That bullet also struck the same deputy’s car. Again, the Sheriff said the deputies repeatedly asked Edwards to drop his weapon and surrender.

“After Mr. Edwards failed to comply with the commands and continued to act in a threatening manner, one of the deputies at the side of the residence fired at least two shots at the subject,” Vincent said. “At least two shots were fired by the deputy who had taken cover at the car. We think the fatal shots came from the side of the residence.”

Pending the SBI investigation, the Sheriff did not reveal which deputies took up certain locations at the scene. However, he did say two of the deputies were stationed at the side of the residence while the third took cover behind one of the law enforcement vehicles.

Northampton EMS was summoned to the scene and transported Edwards to Halifax Regional Hospital in Roanoke Rapids. From there, Edwards was airlifted to Greenville.

Vincent concluded by saying that deputies have previously responded to calls at the same address involving the same person. The Sheriff said those previous calls involved domestic and disruptive situations.