Local Politics

Witness: Soles 'defending his home' in shooting

Posted August 24, 2009

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— A man who witnessed a state senator shooting an intruder Sunday said Monday that the senator was trying to defend himself.

Sen. R.C. Soles shot Kyle Blackburn in the leg during an altercation at his 118 Canal St. home, Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batten said.

Blackburn was released Monday from Loris Community Hospital in Loris, S.C.

Lawyer calls shooting self-defense

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting. No charges have been filed.

Blackburn went to Soles' home with B.J. Wright, who wasn't injured in the incident. It's unclear why they were at the house, but both men were clients of Soles, a longtime Tabor City lawyer.

The Associated Press reported that Blackburn and Wright tried to kick in the front door of Soles' house.

"The senator asked us to leave numerous times. Kyle was a little drunk and using hand gestures like he was going to assault the senator," Wright told Wilmington television station WECT-TV on Monday. "The man was defending his home, property and integrity."

A view of the home from Sky 5 shows tire tracks across the front yard.

WRAL News couldn't reach Soles Monday for comment, but he told WECT that he couldn't say anything because of the SBI investigation.

"I would really like much to give you a statement, but it's under investigation and I should not make any statement to interfere with the investigation," he said.

Raleigh attorney Joe Cheshire, who is representing Soles in the case, echoed Wright's contention that the shooting was a case of self-defense. He said the shooting was recorded by security cameras at the residence.

Soles reported the incident directly to Tabor City Police Chief Donald Dowless and never called 911.

"He told me there had been an incident at his residence and he needed police there," Dowless said.

Soles has had a series of confrontations with former law clients in the past two years, according to The Associated Press. He called for help from local police at least nine times to ward off men who were charged with trespassing.

Blackburn, 22, was charged last September with attempted breaking and entering and first-degree trespassing, but the charges were dropped.

Wright, 23, was released two weeks ago from Bladen Correctional Center after serving more than two years for larceny and possession of stolen goods. He previously was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.

Soles gave Wright more than $8,000 while he was in prison, according to WWAY-TV in Wilmington.

The senator is known around Tabor City area for providing young men with cash to buy cars and homes. He has dismissed questions about the practice, saying he gives money to countless people in need, not just troubled young men.

"There are plenty of other people who have been friends of mine I've helped over the years," he told WRAL News recently.

The 74-year-old also is the subject of a separate SBI investigation prompted by an allegation that he tried to fondle a man more than a decade ago.

Stacey Scott, 27, said in a television interview two weeks ago that Soles tried grab his genitals when Scott was 15. WWAY taped the interview a year ago.

A few days after the interview aired, Scott recanted the allegation. He said he had taken drugs on the day he was interviewed and said his mother urged him to make the allegation but couldn't remember why she did.

Soles said he was glad Scott acknowledged he made up the story.

The Democrat, who represents Columbus, Brunswick and Pender counties, is the longest-serving member of the General Assembly. He has spent 32 years in the Senate and was in the House for eight years before that.

20 Comments

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  • lkanzig Aug 25, 2009

    who cares?!?
    he shot a tresspasser!
    next story!

  • flipper59 Aug 25, 2009

    why didn't he dial 911 like everyone else does?

  • flipper59 Aug 25, 2009

    you can bet there is

  • hisfavor Aug 25, 2009

    Something doesn't sound right. I'm all for helping. I'm thinking why would you give $8000 to a person while in prison when all they can use is actually $40 a week. Why not set up a trust fund/ program for troubled people. I may be wrong but it sounds like "hush money" to me. There is a whole lot more to this story.

  • Professor Aug 25, 2009

    A person has the right to protect his home. What was the perpetrator doing in his home? He was not invited. They should convict and send the perpetrator to prison for 10 years.

  • itsmyownopinion Aug 25, 2009

    Thanks for your post billO. I don't know anything about Senator Soles, other than what I've read here, or heard on local news. If what you say is true, and I have no reason to not believe you, it is just sad to think that a good "soul" would be so vilified for trying to help people. I've always tried to help people, without any expectation, and often times without their knowledge as to where the helping hand came from. I have learned for certain that helping people sometimes causes people to take advantage.

  • bill0 Aug 25, 2009

    Soles is an attorney and these young men where all clients. If you work in criminal justice, most of your clients are going to be young men. Little old ladies just don't commit a lot of violent crimes.

    Soles is an older man who has never married, and hence, has no immediate family. He's made a ton of money as a lawyer and legislator over the years. He has helped quite a few people who were headed down the wrong path by helping them get jobs, cars, apartments etc. Some people give money to be altruistic. Others give money to draw attention to themselves or "buy" friendship. Either way, helping wayward people isn't sinister.

    Unfortunately, like many lonely older people, he doesn't seem to recognize when someone is taking advantage of him. People know that he give money to people with sob stories, so all the deadbeats are coming out of the woodwork to take advantage. Soles might be sad or pathetic, but he isn't a predator.

  • dbcooper41 Aug 25, 2009

    mighty strong lawyer for a preemptive strike. i wonder if father soles has ever "shot at" this guy before? i see shades of blue velvet.

  • diana123 Aug 25, 2009

    i smell a large rat

  • garnertoy Aug 25, 2009

    SOMETHING ISNT RIGHT

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