Local News

Judge seals 911 calls in deputy-involved shooting

Posted November 25, 2008

— A Johnston County judge has sealed 911 calls related to an officer-involved shooting that happened over the weekend, saying that releasing them could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.

The order means all recordings of 911 calls and radio traffic must be withheld until the investigation into the Saturday shooting death of Reginald Lee Witcher, 54, is complete.

Two deputies went to Witcher's home at 2349 Glendale Road in Kenly shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday in response to a request from paramedics for backup.

Johnston County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tammy Amaon said that when the deputies arrived, Witcher shot at them from his front door, and a deputy returned fire, killing Witcher.

A deputy was injured from shrapnel or glass from the front door and was treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries.

The deputies involved, Deputy Sgt. J.K. Garner and Deputy A.J. Case, are both on administrative leave with pay, which is standard procedure for all officer-involved shootings.

Citing the ongoing investigation, authorities have declined to comment further about the case and the circumstances that might have led to the shooting.

According to incident report released Tuesday, deputies say they were responding to paramedics' request for assistance because of a "highly intoxicated crowd."

"While on the scene, we encountered an armed man with a shotgun. The suspect was shot by law enforcement. No further at this time," the officers' narrative states.

The sheriff's office said Tuesday the short summary is not the final report and maintains that Witcher shot at deputies.

"We do stand by our earlier statement and that report is just a brief narrative, not the full report," Amaon said.

Scott Blecke, EMS division chief in Johnston County, said paramedics at the scene said people at the home were being uncooperative and interfering with their ability to treat a female guest who had fallen.

Witcher's wife, Belinda Witcher, was also arrested for resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer, according to court records.

A paramedic in the front of the ambulance, he said, reported seeing Wticher with a gun and quickly told the crew to leave the scene. Blecke said he was unsure if deputies were there at the time and that none of the paramedics witnessed the shooting.

Family members and friends said Tuesday they find it hard to believe that Witcher would have tried to shoot a law enforcement officer.

"My brother would never have fired on a policeman," Witcher's sister, Connie Cherise Mulgrew, said in a telephone interview from Virginia Beach, Va. "He would have never fired on a policeman."

Witcher was a home-heating and cooling salesman who loved animals and the outdoors, his sister said. He was never angry, even when drinking.

"It doesn't fit the personality, it doesn't fit the person," Witcher's friend, Paul Mills, said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • doubletap357 Nov 26, 2008

    Dang! Are ya'll still going at it? I thought this thread was dead yesterday when I left. Wait until the SBI investigation is released guys. I personally feel that from what little I have read the shooting was justified. If there is any evidence to the contrary, it will be brought out in the investigation.

  • Centurian Nov 26, 2008

    So many people want to have every question answered INSTANTLY and completely! That is NOT the way to reach a thorough and unbiased conclusion of an investigation. Wait for the SBI's report and don't worry about the 911 tapes...they are secured and will be made public when appropriate.

  • leo-nc Nov 26, 2008

    Gone are the days where people take responsibility for their own actions and instead blame the police. It's easy too, because the media and lawyers encourage it!

  • leo-nc Nov 26, 2008

    "i think the dead guy has something to hide and through a weegie board he contacted the judge to seal the tape......hey no more crazy then the other comments made here"-----

    hehehe, that's pretty funny right there, but true. Some of the comments on here are insane. Between the coverup theories and some of the other negative comments about the deputies, it's pretty sad that people will jump to conclusions so quickly. And you wonder why we don't trust the public? Between the false complaints and things like this, there is no reason to. Then you have the ones who see you in a restaurant on your meal break, they ask you why you're not out protecting the public and harrass you while you try to eat. Even better are the morons who get caught, then tell us to go out and get the real criminals. Heck, even the real criminals say it. Whatever we do, we should always be doing something else other than harrassing YOU!

  • nc_copper1993 Nov 26, 2008

    i think the dead guy has something to hide and through a weegie board he contacted the judge to seal the tape......hey no more crazy then the other comments made here

  • Common Sense Man Nov 26, 2008

    "I strongly suspect someone has something to hide in this case, why else would they seal the 911 call?"

    I guess the judge has something to hide since he sealed them.

  • rj4as805 Nov 26, 2008

    It is because the tapes are considered evidence and the investigation is still ongoing. No coverup, just procedure.

  • durhamdon Nov 26, 2008

    It sounds like a cover-up to me.

  • Milkman Nov 26, 2008

    Can anyone explain why they'd seal the 911 calls. Remember a couple months ago when RPD shot and killed the man who stole the taxi after a lengthy chase? The radio traffic tape for the incident was released the next day.

    Probably because that shooting was very legitimate and the RPD had nothing to hide. I strongly suspect someone has something to hide in this case, why else would they seal the 911 call?

  • news4u Nov 25, 2008

    ABC11 has a lot more facts about the story plus more footage from the night in question.