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Autopsy: Durham Teen Shot In Head, Chest

Posted January 24, 2007

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— An autopsy report released Wednesday confirms that a Durham teen who was killed last month as New Hanover County sheriff deputies stormed his Wilmington home was shot in the head and chest.

Authorities were at the Wilmington home on Dec. 1 to serve Peyton Strickland, 18, with warrants in connection with an assault and the theft of two Playstation 3 consoles.

Investigators believe the bullets went through the front door and they think deputy Christopher Long fired the fatal shot. Long told investigators he mistook the sound of a battering ram officers were using to break open the front door to the house as gunfire.

Long was fired from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office after the incident, and a grand jury indicted him on a second-degree murder charge. But a day after the indictment was returned, a judge ordered that it be dismissed because the grand jury foreman testified that he had checked the wrong box on the indictment form.

Long may still face criminal charges in the case.

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  • Oh Smeg Jan 25, 2007

    Was police using excessive force? Perhaps. But if the young man hadn't committed theft to begin with and/or chosen his acquaintances better, we wouldn't have to ask this question. Calling the officer a "trigger happy idiot" is irresponsible. Put yourself in his shoes in that situation, with only a split second to make a life-or-death decision. There is no 'save-reload' option in real life like there is on the stolen game console. Personally, I'll reserve my judgement on excessive force and name-calling until I know all the facts - and I'm not holding my breath on that.

  • whiffleball Jan 25, 2007


    Insightful post!

    Some days it seems there is a contest here to determine who can post the most hate while barely adhering to the TOS. Can you imagine living inside their skin; being eaten from the inside out with hatred for your fellow man, fellow creatures?

    Thank you for posting something worthy of reading.

  • Execution Style Jan 25, 2007

    everyone keeps saying this "boy was only 18" there are lots of people in prison serving life sentences for things they did before they turned 21. Age doesn't matter. It sounds to me like the officer was trigger happy... he is only human. He will be judged by a jury but i'm sure none of us will be on it. :) So i guess this comment section does have it's advantages after all!

  • .45 Jan 25, 2007

    There is one detail of this case that everyone seems to be forgetting. The officer shot through the door!
    Regardless of the circumstances leading up to this event. Should a SWAT team have been used?
    Was he guilty?
    Pictures with guns on the internet?

    All of this doesn't matter.
    When the officer fired through the door he broke every rule of engagement. There is never justification for firing at an unknown, unseen and therefore improperly accessed threat. That is reckless endangerment.
    People this was a homicide ( The act or an instance of unlawfully killing another human being).

  • eric52272 Jan 24, 2007

    this trigger happy idiot needs to be charged with murder...and for the one who said they need to see a pic of him beating someone up....he stoled a game from some kid, this hardly deserved a swat team

  • Durham-Raleigh Jan 24, 2007

    I am intrigued to see the "family values" of people who think "the kid got what he deserved." Why is it that those who profess to be conservative are the most liberal and free-wheeling at valuing the life of another, particularly in an accounting of the worth of a human being's very existence against the value of property? Do fora such as these simply dull your sense of moral character, your ethics, your religious values into a dim, blunt coarseness? Or did these never exist in your heart to begin with?

    The last five years, in which our public discourse has become outrageous in its willingness to tolerate hate without the thinnest veneer of rationalization or excuse, find us becoming a dark nation free of compassion. I'm sorry to see we've come to the point where everyday Americans like some of those on this forum would say, and more frighteningly perhaps, dare to actually believe things like those written here.

  • narck9 Jan 24, 2007

    I am sick of seeing this picture of him smiling like an innocent little college boy. I want to see a picture of him brutally beating and robbing the victim of his PS3. We won't though.

  • justoon Jan 24, 2007

    Yes I do belive that the police have a tough job having to make those choices, however no child should ever have to be shot due to a mistake. I know that the adrenaline gets going and everyone gets excited to go in but they need to use judgement before discharging there weapons. Peyton was not a criminal he was a good caring friend and should never had to go through that. They should all use better judgement. Training I think also plays a big factor in it as well.

  • BLA BLA BLA Jan 24, 2007

    quote"Long told investigators he mistook the sound of a battering ram officers were using to break open the front door to the house as gunfire."unquote.

    So next is going to be mistaking a car backfire for somebody shooting at them?

    The only holes in the door was the police officers, kinda funny he wasnt aware of what a battering ram sounded like, or maybe he wasnt paying attention when he shouldve been. An officer swinging a battering ram will make noise but he/she isnt that hard to see either busting the door down either.

  • pinus5 Jan 24, 2007

    reading the justifications posted by others for the actions of the officer in this story reminds me, of all those times the cops have busted in the WRONG HOUSE .