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Deputy who killed Harnett County man will resign

Posted June 23
Updated June 24

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— Harnett County deputy Nicholas D. Kehagias, who shot and killed 33-year-old John Livingston on the front porch of his Spring Lake home in November, announced his resignation Thursday afternoon.

In a resignation letter to Sheriff Wayne Coats, Kehagias said his resignation is effective June 30.

"Over the last three years it has been my great honor and joy to serve the citizens of Harnett County as a member of this Office. I have taken great pride in my job and in doing everything I could to enforce North Carolina laws, but more importantly, in helping every person I was able," the letter said.

"As such, it is incredibly difficult for me to do this, but I cannot risk putting my fellow law enforcement officers in increased danger due to the environment created by a dishonest media and a baseless lawsuit, combined with the dangerous rhetoric or actions of certain person(s) in the community."

Deputies responded to Livingston's home to investigate a reported assault. Witnesses say Livingston told deputies the couple they were looking for didn't live there, and when deputies asked to search the home, he refused because they didn't have a search warrant.

Authorities said Livingston then became combative and was shot.Jesse Jones, who is representing Livingston's mother in the civil suit, said Kehgias' statement didn't sit well with the family.

"They were happy, but they felt like it was a slap in the face by what he said," Jones said.

Family friend Maria Aria said she too was disappointed by the statement.

"When I read what his reasons were, a dishonest media and rhetoric from the same person in the community, I thought it was a joke," said family friend Maria Arias. "They would have preferred if the sheriff had let him go."

An autopsy determined that Livingston had alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time and that he had been shot three times from an "indeterminate/distant range."

The FBI is investigating the case.


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  • Josha Barton Jul 3, 2:24 p.m.
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    Should have been fired along with the other officers that didn't tell the truth

  • William Jones Jun 26, 9:27 a.m.
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    This article is misleading. LEO was not called there on an assault. The call was to a location a couple of miles away, Kehagias only went to Livingston's house because he believed the people he was looking for sometimes went there. He based his forced entry on Livingston closing the door on his foot. Of course the only way the door could be closed on his foot is if he had already crossed the threshold, which is illegal entry.

  • Vern Barnett Jun 24, 10:26 a.m.
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    I don't feel we have enough information to fully judge at this point. They will not release the police cam footage and most information from the trial has been kept under wraps. I could see either party possibly being guilty at this point.

  • Chris Morgan Jun 24, 5:27 a.m.
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    None of us were there and have never Vernon a shoot don't shoot situation. I wish law enforcement was better trained but I don't do their job so I can't say for certain how I would react. We all have different opinions on what a threat is. I thought LEO could search if they had probable cause.

  • RB Redmond Jun 24, 3:03 a.m.
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    - You are so wrong. Without a warrant, he had no right to force the issue, and he did. That's where things went wrong and it started with him.

  • RB Redmond Jun 24, 3:02 a.m.
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    - The assault charge was on someone who wasn't even at that house, and Livingston told the deputy that. From that point on, the deputy should have pulled back and waited for a warrant. PERIOD!!!

  • RB Redmond Jun 24, 3:00 a.m.
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    Thank you.
    This guy should have been fired, and then arrested.
    He had no right to try to force his way into Livingston's house without a warrant. He knew it. Livingston knew it. And when Livingston tried to prevent his entry, he killed him.
    He's danged lucky he's not facing a murder charge. Now get him gone.

  • Ronan Cates Jun 23, 10:26 p.m.
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    Dishonest media... Really... It should be OK for this punk to go into someone's house without a warrant and shoot somebody. Put me on the jury... This punk needs to make Central prison his new home.

  • Brian Walker Jun 23, 6:55 p.m.
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    Got to disagree there. If the LEO was called there on assault call then they don't need a warrant. They have the right to search if they feel another person may be in danger. I would imagine procedure would be to secure subject while searching for victim. If he then came combative and approached the officers in a threatening manner why shouldn't they shoot.

  • Linda Ekey Jun 23, 6:42 p.m.
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    this is awesome news, funny he resigned like Rollins, wonder if the fancy attorney the County hired used our tax money to write it for him