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Men charged in Sanford police shooting appear in court

Posted December 21, 2009

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— Two men charged in the shooting of a Sanford police officer early Sunday appeared in court for the first time Monday.

Breon Montrell Black, 21, of 2518 Dalrymple St. in Sanford, and Thomas Harold Mitchell II, 16, of 1800 Marks Road in Cameron, are charged in the shooting of Officer Scott Norton.

Police Capt. David Smith said Norton and his partner were watching four people they believe were acting suspiciously at the Thornwood Village mobile home park. When the officers tried to confront the men, one or two of the suspects opened fire, Smtih said.

Norton was shot at least four times – twice in the right leg, once in the left leg and once through his back. He was in fair condition at UNC Hospitals Monday.

Men make first appearance in Sanford shooting Men make first appearance in Sanford shooting

In court Monday, Black waived his right to counsel, and Mitchell asked for a court-appointed attorney. He was assigned lawyer Fred Webb. Calls to Webb were not returned on Monday.

The judge kept Black's bond at $960,000 and Mitchell's at $860,000. He set a probable cause hearing for Jan. 13.

Black and Mitchell face two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. They were being held in the Lee County Jail.

Authorities are searching for two more suspects in the shooting.

On Monday at Thornwood Village, police arrested a man who may be a witness or suspect in the shooting, Smith said. The man, whose name was not released, was arrested on a gun charge.

Norton is on the Sanford Police Department's SWAT team and has been with the force for 5 years. He is married and has children.

Black is on probation for a 2007 conviction for possession of drugs with intent to sell, according to state Department of Correction records. He also has convictions for larceny and driving with a revoked license.

Sanford police said they had increased patrols in the Thornwood Village neighborhood due to an increase in crime in the last week.

Sanford Mayor Pro Tem Mike Stone said the city has an issue with violent crime.

Over the summer, officers were investigating three shootings, including the death of a 17- year-old police say was shot by an 18-year-old, that happened in a matter of weeks.

"We have all these youth now with guns and it's scary," Stone said.

Stone said he wants the city council to work with law enforcement in exploring everything from the state's gun buy-back program to working more closely with school resource officers.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • BraveHeart Dec 22, 2009

    just think they will get a doc christmas care package this year with a snack bag with cookies.....

  • daMoFo Dec 21, 2009

    If they hadn't been arrested, their pics couldn't be posted. And since when did a 21 year old become a "youth"?

  • Redneck Fun Dec 21, 2009

    The Rider: They posted their pictures because this is who is charged. If they were any other race they would have posted them as well. It is not about stereotypes it is about individuals being responsible for what they do. If you were not feeding the stereotype by your comment, most of us would have never even thought about it. Hope your happy.

  • brianna00mom Dec 21, 2009

    It does not matter one way or another about the pictures no one made them commit the crime. They post pics for all of them no matter what their race is, gimmie a break. This is what's wrong with people now, always so quick to blame someones actions on race or what they may or may not have grown up with. Why else would people be walking the streets after midnight unles they are looking for trouble or to cause trouble.

  • ranquick Dec 21, 2009

    and they got bond for attempted murder. There is something worng with the legal system, they shot this Officer 4 times and left him for dead and they are getting bond. SomeLawyers have runined our justice system to no end.

  • The Rider Dec 21, 2009

    Why does WRAL insist on posting pictures of these criminals, it just reinforces stereotypes?

  • wbearp Dec 21, 2009

    The guy that almost killed a Durham Cop this past summer was sentenced to a whole 3 years. Let's hope if these guys get convicted they get more of a punishment than that.

  • Trabman_san Dec 21, 2009

    State legislators, how do we protect ourselves from people like these two?

    Always remember.... "When seconds count, the cops are minutes away!"

    Make sure you stand up for your 2nd Amendment Right! If we lose that one, it's all over but the crying.

  • BottomLine Dec 21, 2009

    i'm sure they are just poor illiterate and misunderstood . Too bad he was not able to land a direct hit on return file to save everyone time and money !

  • nc_copper1993 Dec 21, 2009