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13-year-old killed in confrontation with Harnett deputy

Posted January 19, 2010

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— A Harnett County deputy shot and killed a heavily armed 13-year-old boy early Tuesday in a confrontation outside a Cameron convenience store, authorities said Tuesday afternoon.

Cpl. S. Assman was shot in the leg during the incident. He was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and was recuperating at home, Sheriff Larry Rollins said.

Harnett deputy shot Deputy kills heavily armed teen

The name of the teen wasn't released because he was a juvenile, but Rollins said he was an Overhills Middle School eighth-grader who lived with his parents in the Anderson Creek community.

Harnett County authorities initially said the shooting victim was a man, but Rollins said it wasn't until several hours after the incident that they determined he was 13 years old.

Assman and Sgt. T. Daggett were patrolling southwest Harnett County at about 2:25 a.m. when they observed someone sitting in a ditch in front of the Super Mart convenience store, at 1943 N.C. Highway 24/87, Rollins said.

The deputies asked the boy to show them what was in a book bag lying nearby, and they saw a 9 mm and a .22-caliber handgun inside, along with about 250 rounds of ammunition, Rollins said.

The 13-year-old then pulled another 9 mm handgun out and shot Assman in the leg, the sheriff said. Both deputies then returned fire, killing the boy, he said.

Rollins declined to say how many shots the boy fired, how many shots the deputies fired or how many times the boy was hit.

The State Bureau of Investigation was called to investigate, which is routine in an officer-involved shooting. Assman and Daggett have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Rollins defended his deputies' actions in the case but said it has been hard on them.

"He's a suspect, he was armed and he did (fire at them). You have to handle that situation," he said. "After the fact, when you have time to think about things, you know that it's a child – a 13-year-old is a child. It's like one of them said, 'Why? Why did he do it?'"

The boy's parents didn't know he was out of the house, the sheriff said. He declined to say whether they knew anything about the boy's weapons and ammunition.

Harnett County Schools Superintendent Phil Ferrell said automated phone calls were made Tuesday night to the families of all Overhills Middle students to inform them about the incident.

“It makes me really nervous because my kid goes there,” Darlene Folden, mother of an Overhills Middle eighth-grader, said. “You think the school is going to be safe because there is a cop there, but it is not always a guarantee.”

Overhills Middle custodian and bus driver Ricky Sulton, who drove by the shooting scene Tuesday, said he was surprised to hear a student was involved.

“I walk up and down these halls all day long, up and down, and you think somebody might have a gun up in here and you don't know who has got it. It's scary,” he said.

Grief counselors will be at the school Wednesday.

"We are deeply saddened anytime a student's life is cut short, especially in a tragic situation like this," Ferrell said.

136 Comments

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  • lil157 Jan 20, 2010

    My question is, Where were the parents, did they not notice there child was having problems. This behavior had to start a long long before his actions,next question did the school not notice?? He had to be showing behavior problems ect WAY before this, and NO ONE NOTICED???Dear God what does that say about all of us? Are we all to busy to care or pay attention?? Maybe we as the adults need to reconsider HOW we are dealing with life ect on a DAILY BASIS!!!

  • jkca Jan 20, 2010

    If one of my kids were out in the middle of the night, I would know it. No matter how you slice it, parents should be responsible to know where their children are and what they're doing.

    Response to above: It's easy to sneak out of a house at 2:00am when most everyone's asleep. Just open the window and crawl out or if the house layout is right, just walk right through the front or back door without anyone hearing.
    I know cause I was a stupid, and I repeat STUPID (though not suicidal and bearing arms) teenager once and I snuck out of my house many times while my parents were sound asleep. They would be devestated if they knew that. I regret it and thank God nothing happened to me while I was "out". But point being, where there's a will there's a way.

  • Adelinthe Jan 20, 2010

    Admiral - "They blame the LEO's for killing someone who is shooting at them."

    Don't know what blog you're reading, but no one here is doing that; in fact there's dozens of comments doing just the opposite - commiserating with the cops cause they had to do what they had to do.

    Praying for the boy, his parents and the cops.

    God bless.

    RB

  • Hapicampr Jan 20, 2010

    Prayers of comfort to the family of the teenager and for peace to the officers that were doing their jobs.
    This is another sad, sad story in the real world of today.

  • Jack Flash Jan 20, 2010

    Where is either one of those here, Admiral? No one is begrudging the LEOs' use of deadly force. No one is hating the LEOs. And the people hating first the then-anonymous-dead-person-presumably-over-the-age-of-18 and then the parents of a dead 13-y-o are definitely not what anyone would call "PC," or is that just an oversimplified catch-all term nowadays for anyone you don't like, like "lib'rul," "tur'ist," and "soc'list"?

    You may have a point about the excesses of political correctness, but save it for an occasion where it actually makes sense. The only thing I'm condemning here is the cowardly kneejerk responses that seek to distance the typer from any contribution toward solutions and any humane emotion.

  • Drakula_I_G Jan 20, 2010

    Samiam - where did you see that in the news story?

  • TheAdmiral Jan 20, 2010

    "blaming and hating..."

    This is what uninformed Cowards do. They blame the LEO's for killing someone who is shooting at them. The rule in any kind of situation is shoot to kill.

    And Hating - this is what the politically correct do when they can't in their mind justify the actions of someone else. So they hate them.

    Folks, I am here to tell you when you are in the sights of a gun, there is no such thing as friendly fire.

    If you have not figured this out - there is never a model teenager. Your straight A kids can also be dealing drugs right under your nose.

    Just remember - it is the quiet ones that are having the problems - because they can not communicate what is going on in their head.

  • Jack Flash Jan 20, 2010

    JAT, blaming and hating is a comforting distraction and therefore as bad as an excuse. That game seeks an oversimplified explanation, like an armchair QB, so you can move on, feel safe, and stop thinking about it.

    Further, no one is making excuses. The kid foolishly pulled a gun on LEOs and understandably but no less tragically paid for it with his life. No one is denying that. And no one is pulling for against the investigation into how it all came to pass.

    If anyone is making excuses, it's the kneejerk posters here, throwing blame around haphazardly, looking for an excuse not to think, reflect, and mourn.

  • samiam1244 Jan 20, 2010

    If the police was close enough to talk to the boy and see what was in the bag and knew he had guns, then why didn't they just jump on him before he had a chance to start firing at them. but I don't know the circumstance, just going by what the story said..

  • JAT Jan 20, 2010

    jackflash -alot of what ails society today is exactly because we don't "blame and hate" enough. We give too many people too many excuses as to why they do things. Blame the people that need to be blamed; in this case, the parents. People were "happy" when they thought it was an adult because adults make their own choices and, thankfully, someone who could do harm to others was now off the street. People "blame' the parents now because this could have all so easily been prevented.

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