Local News

Suspects arrested in slaying of off-duty Warren deputy

Posted September 7, 2006
Updated December 5, 2008

— Authorities made two arrests Wednesday evening in a deadly shooting involving an off-duty Warren County deputy.

Investigators believe Michael Leonforte may have been heading back home on Warren Plains Road Tuesday night, when he drove up to two men standing in the road.

"It appears from evidence we have that somebody was talking in the road and he tried to go around and had a confrontation with them," said Warren County Sheriff Johnny Williams.

Williams said that is when the men tried to rob Leonforte and shot him. Karen Oxendine told WRAL that her daughter was playing outside and heard the shots.

"She came running in and said, 'Mom, there are people shooting our there,'" she said. "I heard three shots and then I heard three more."

When investigators arrived at the scene, they found Leonforte dead in his pickup truck. Following a joint investigation involving several law enforcement agencies, Williams said Quante Seward was taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon at a residence in Oine. He is charged with first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a deadly weapon.

At around 10:30 p.m., detectives nabbed 18-year-old Montellus Burchette at a house in Vance County. Both men were arrested without incident. Williams said evidence indicates Burchette may have been the person who shot Leonforte.

Williams told WRAL that Leonforte had just joined the sheriff's department and was still undergoing law enforcement training. Leonforte moved to the area from New York. He is survived by his wife.

Williams also said he plans to meet with Leonforte's family Thursday to discuss the arrests.

This is not the only time that the Warren County Sheriff's Office has had to deal with losing one of their own. In 1999, Detective Bill Weatherly was shot to death on the job in the rural community of Wise, just a few miles from the Virginia border.

Weatherly was attempting to serve a warrant when he was shot by Lawrence Attaway. Attaway remains in a state mental hospital. A judge had ruled that he is not mentally fit to stand trial.


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