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Rally held as family seeks answers in Harnett man's death

Posted December 10, 2015

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— Family members and friends of a Harnett County man killed last month in an officer-involved shooting want answers about his death, and they rallied Thursday morning at the county courthouse.

John Livingston, 33, was shot and killed on the front porch of his Spring Lake home Nov. 15.

Deputies arrived at Livingston's Everett Street home at about 3:30 a.m. that day to investigate a reported assault. Witnesses say Livingston told deputies the couple they were looking for didn't live there, and when deputies asked to search the home, he refused because they didn't have a search warrant.

Deputies say that's when Livingston became combative and was shot. A deputy suffered minor injuries in the confrontation.

"He was home minding his business," Penny Setzer, a friend of Livingston's, said during the rally. "Is it going to be your home next they're going to kick in? Is it going to be my door? I've got kids that are growing up. We've got to get justice and make this right."

​Deputy Nicholas Kehagias has been placed on administrative leave while the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation reviews the incident, which is standard procedure.

Kehagias has worked with the Harnett County Sheriff's Office since July 2013 and is assigned to the Patrol Division.

"We need justice. My dad shouldn’thave died," said 13-year-old John Livingston III. "(Kehagias) needs to get some kind of punishment or something. I don’t know, he needs to go to jail or something."

Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins has referred all questions to the SBI.

SBI spokeswoman Shannon O'Toole said agents are still waiting for lab results and Livington's autopsy report, which could take another month, to complete their investigation. At that point, she said, it would be up to District Attorney Vernon Stewart to decide whether any charges will be filed.

"I just feel like, if it's the case that somebody in law enforcement takes their authority and uses it in the wrong way, they should not be allowed to have that authority," said Almeria Page, a friend of Livington's.

8 Comments

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  • Josha Barton Dec 11, 2015
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    I am shocked the such a thing happened in North Carolina. We have stayed out of the news when it comes to police brutality. This story rings bells of a police state on so many levels. It's a terrible thing when a man is killed in his own home.

  • Steven Cousler Dec 10, 2015
    user avatar

    A police officer kicks in your door a 3:00 Am in the morning, several officers enter your home against your will and without a warrant. They taser, mace you, and you are just going to sit there and take it? Most would be highly upset at the very least. The actions of these officers indicate they should have been prepared for resistance and to respond with non-deadly force - they escalated the situation and could not resolve it without killing an innocent man. They should all be fired and charged and the county sued for millions for wrongful death by hiring these clowns as deputies.

  • Jacob Smith Dec 10, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    Seems pretty clear to me based on what is reported here - the cops come to the guy's house at 3:30AM looking for someone else and have no warrant.

    The guy has every right to refuse a request to search the house.

    Then - we have murky/no explanations as to how this escalated that the guy is first tased then shot.

    Are you saying that this guy presented a threat to the deputy(s) that were present?

    While I am a big believer that the LEO are the good guys - I also believe there are more than a few of them that are over zealous - shoot first - and then lie about what happened.

    There is allot more to this story - and I suspect most of the hidden part is being hidden by the cops in this case.

  • Hamilton Bean Dec 10, 2015
    user avatar

    Just to play the devil's advocate here--what caused this man to become belligerent and combative with the cops?? Why did he resist? If he had nothing to hide, why did he resist??

  • John Mason Dec 10, 2015
    user avatar

    Seems like another case of officer's abusing their authority.. Once he denied their request to enter without a warrant their responsibility was to leave until they could get one. Sounds like they did not take kindly to the denial and their subsequent actions instigated the struggle leading to him being shot and killed. Don't have much faith in their properly being arrested and convicted.

  • Susan West Dec 10, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    I agree 100%.

  • James Coats Dec 10, 2015
    user avatar

    Yes, Donna, you are correct, and the County needs to become vocal about what really happened. A few times a week, when I'm at some family members house. I can hear CB chatter from that area.... its ugly. Seems the Natives are getting restless. But there needs to be open honesty about what happened. The story of the people that were at the scene doesn't mesh with what the deputies claim. Harnett County has a history of employing deputies that cant find work elsewhere.

  • Donna Gale Dec 10, 2015
    user avatar

    This man was murdered. He had every right to refuse the police entry into his home. Yes they had a search warrant, but for the wrong house...so he did not have to let them in. If the police wanted in that bad they should have left and gotten a search warrant for his property.