Zebulon, N.C. — A Johnston County sheriff’s deputy was justified in using lethal force against a drunken man who threatened to kill him and other deputies with a machete during a confrontation last December, a report released Tuesday said.
An investigation by the sheriff’s office, the Johnston County District Attorney and the State Bureau of Investigation into the Dec. 15 shooting determined that Deputy Jordan Haddock acted within the law when he fired six rounds from his service weapon into the chest of Robert Lamont Barnes. An autopsy determined Barnes had a blood alcohol content of about .15 when he died.
“Under the circumstances observed by Deputy Haddock, his use of deadly force was both reasonable and warranted,” Johnston County Attorney Susan Doyle said. “As a result, no criminal charges will be filed related to this incident.”
The incident unfolded when deputies received an emergency call from Robert Barnes’ brother, Travis Maurice Barnes. The men had been arguing at a home in the 500 block of Richardson Road in Zebulon when Robert pointed a .22 caliber rifle at Travis, according to the report.
Travis Barnes wrestled away the gun, hid it and ran across the street to a neighbor’s house. When deputies arrived, another neighbor told them that Robert Barnes had a machete and had injured a dog with it.
Several deputies surrounded the house and called on Robert Barnes to come out. According to the report, Barnes emerged with a black machete about 24 to 30 inches long and stood “in a fighting position.” Barnes then ran towards the deputies, swinging the machete, yelling obscenities and threatening to kill them.
At one point, the report stated, Barnes got within 3 or 4 feet of Haddock, raised the machete over his head and threatened to kill him. Haddock then fired his weapon.
Haddock was placed on administrative leave with pay after the shooting. It was not clear Tuesday whether he had returned to duty.