Local News

FBI investigating Harnett man's shooting by deputy

Posted May 3, 2016

John Livingston

— After state and local authorities failed to file criminal charges in the shooting death of a Harnett County man by a deputy last November, the FBI is taking a look at the case.

A spokeswoman on Tuesday issued this statement:

"The Charlotte FBI Field Office, Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina have opened an investigation to determine if any violations of federal law occurred surrounding the death of John Livingston II. As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time."

Livingston, 33, was killed on the porch of his Spring Lake home Nov. 15 by Deputy Nicholas Kehagias.

The sheriff's office has said deputies wanted to search Livingston's home in the course of an assault investigation. Livingston challenged the deputies, who did not have a warrant to search his home. His landlord, Clayton Carroll, told the Fayetteville Observer that a deputy kicked in the door and law enforcement officers used pepper spray and a Taser on Livingston before the fatal shot was fired.

The sheriff's office immediately referred the case to the State Bureau of Investigation, standard practice in an officer-involved shooting. The Harnett County District Attorney's Office used evidence gathered by the SBI in trying to indict Kehagias on a charge of second-degree murder, but a grand jury decided not to pursue a criminal case against Kehagias, and Livingston's family and friends vowed to seek justice elsewhere.

"He had no right to be there, let alone kick down the door when he was denied entrance to the home," said Stephanie Donovan, whose son lived with Livingston.

"We certainly believe there was probable cause that a crime was committed," family attorney Robert Zaytoun said, "based upon what I think is going to be incontroverted (evidence) about what happened and what placed those deputies in the home wrongfully of John Livingston."

According to friends, Livingston told deputies that the man they were searching for was not in his home, but they insisted on entering.

His death and another at the hands of Harnett deputies in 2013 were the subject of an in-depth report Sunday in the News & Observer. The families of Livingston and Christian Gregg say that investigation revealed new information in the case.


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  • Kim Schrock May 3, 2016
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    The deputies murdered Livingston. There is no getting around it.

  • Janet Ghumri May 3, 2016
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    I am sooooo glad to see this investigation is really happening. What good is it to stand your ground if you can be slaughtered for it? And trying to justify it by stating that the victim had alcohol and drugs in his system. He was at HOME! I hope the truth comes out, and the family is treated with respect, finally!

  • Ron Coleman May 3, 2016
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    There is no doubt that LEO's have a tough job but when one puts a badge on and thinks he is god which unfortunately does happen it reflects badly on all officers and usually the DA and grand jury does not indict and that is when people get very angry. No one but the people that were there knows truly what happened and if their statements are correct then this deputy needs to be locked up.

  • Betsy Riggins May 3, 2016
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    There must be some law broken when an unarmed man can be shot dead in his own home with no search warrant or valid reason for LEO to enter their home.

  • Rudy Bizzell May 3, 2016
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    Hopefully the family will get justice and alot of money

  • Johnathan Gault May 3, 2016
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    No one is above the law Deputy Kehagis. Which makes this more heinous, is society has a reasonable expectation to expect exemplary behavior from law enforcement, and you failed so horribly the citizens you were hired to protect. Because of these mitigating circumstances this should be prosecuted as a capital offense.

    What I am glad to see, by these posts, are citizens are now demanding that LE be held accountable for their unlawful actions.

    It is almost like Mexico here in the US now. If I have an issue, I see calling LE would just be exacerbating the problem.

    But we as citizens have to realize that LE comes from the same socio-economic backgrounds as the criminals. They typically come from poor or lower middle class households. They hold the same "world view," as those they prosecute. So can we really expect better behavior from them, then from the criminals?

  • Linda Ekey May 3, 2016
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    this is wonderful news, the truth will finally be told, he was murdered and justice will be served, now for Christian Griggs murderer be held accountable

  • Steven Cousler May 3, 2016
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    Regardless of the victim's reputation, which wasn't bad - police have no right to enter without a warrant. After kicking in the door and pepper spraying the victim the police were guilty of violating the unlawful entry law and of assault and escalating the situation. Grand juries only see evidence presented by the prosecution and can be swayed if the prosecutor doesn't reveal all the evidence or taints it to one side - it happens all the time. Hopefully this time it will be rectified.

  • Jim Hinnant May 3, 2016
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    Will be interesting to see if this gets any traction.

  • William Patterson May 3, 2016
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    good....because he was murdered...and the man that committed the murder was not held accountable