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Homeowner Hopes Injured, Captured Intruder Is OK

Posted November 8, 2007
Updated November 13, 2007

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Editor's Note: WRAL.com initially ran a photo with this story that it identified as Cornelius Brown. The photo was not of Mr. Brown, and WRAL.com regrets the error.


A Johnston County homeowner surprised two intruders Thursday afternoon and apprehended one of them by using his truck to pin the man between a car and a fence gate, authorities said.

The incident happened about 2 p.m. near the intersection of Hawkins Road and U.S. Highway 301 between Micro and Selma, according to Tammy Amaon of the Johnston County Sheriff's Office.

John Reid said he had taken the day off from work and came home around lunchtime. He pulled into his gravel driveway, he told officials, and saw two men getting into a brown sedan outside a gate on his property.

"They were coming from behind my property, and I knew something was wrong there," he said, adding that he keeps equipment for his landscaping business behind the gate.

Reid said he did not know if the men were armed or not, but felt that he could not let them get away and tried to block the sedan in with his truck.

"I tried to block them in to let them know that the sheriff was coming," Reid said. But then the driver got out of the car and tried to run, so Reid hit the gas.

"My foot ended up getting stuck on the gas pedal and in between the brake, and I hit their car," he said.

His truck rammed into the car, pinning one of the men between it and a gate post.

“I’m just wondering if the guy’s OK,” Reid said. “I hadn’t heard anything, but I’d just like to know he’s OK. I mean, he did what he did. We all make mistakes. I’m just hoping he’s going to be OK.”

Cornelius Brown, who was pinned by Reid's car, was airlifted to Duke University Hospital. His condition was unavailable, but sheriff's deputies said they will charge Brown when he is released from the hospital.

Police also took Mark Ray McNair, 46, of Dudley, into custody in connection with the incident.

Police found a stolen piece of machinery belonging to Reid into the back of the sedan. Reid said the stolen equipment was a piece of machinery used to dig holes.

Thursday marked the fourth time his property had been burglarized in the past year, he said.

"Unfortunately, for the last year, people feel like they can just come out here and take what they want," Reid said.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said they are investigating whether the two might be linked to other burglaries in the area.

Bizzell said no final determination has been made, but it is unlikely Reid will be charged.

"I don't think John Reid has done anything wrong, but the investigation is ongoing," Bizzell said. "The bottom line is these guys shouldn't be on his property and, most definitely, should not have been stealing the merchandise that belongs to Mr. Reid."

Brown and McNair will be charged with larceny, trespassing and possession of burglary tools, officials said.


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  • rafiki Nov 9, 2007

    Took law in your own hand??

  • 68_polara Nov 9, 2007

    Because of the lack of the castle doctrine in North Carolina this home owner will be sued in civil court and will likely lose everything to the "victims" family. If you think this is wrong tell your legislators the you want them to pass a castle doctrine in North Carolina. I wish the death hadn't occurred but it's no one else's fault but the thugs who were breaking in to homes during the day when productive citizens are at work.

  • bmg379 Nov 9, 2007

    hope someone pays for this guys truck repairs,kudos to mr reid for quick acting,i ran off guys at my business the same way one night,i didnt hit them,but ran up on the at night around back and they got the heack outta dodge quick

  • TLC2 Nov 9, 2007

    Kudos to John Reid!

  • Mrs. Fabulous Nov 9, 2007

    John Reid, MY HERO!!!! Just as another poster said, we need more people like John in this world.

  • Gafan003 Nov 9, 2007

    Little late now

  • BUCKEYEnNC Nov 9, 2007

    Hey everyone, the person in question just died! I hope Reid has a good attorney!

  • mommy2caroline Nov 9, 2007

    Perhaps they will reconsider their lives of crime with this incident?

  • Tax Man Nov 9, 2007

    So this intruder is now dead - that is a fitting end to his criminal career! Now his accomplice needs to be charged with murder in the commission of a felony. Both of them have long criminal records here in NC - and the survivor appears to be on probation currently. Citizens need to have the legal right to protect their property - anyone who enters on another's land without permission takes the risk of being harmed for the unlawful trespass. NC does need the Castle Doctrine as part of its law. The criminal made the choice to violate the personal sanctity of the homeowner - the homeowner did everything right and nothing wrong. He used equal force - the crooks were driving a vehicle and he was driving a vehicle - clearly equal force used to protect his home. Thank you Sheriff Bizzell for recognizing this man as the true hero he is.

  • 2alegal Nov 9, 2007

    The perp has died.