Local News

Suspect says he never intended to break law over gun deal

Posted July 11, 2013

— A Raleigh man accused of impersonating a Wake County sheriff's deputy while trying to buy a gun says he never intended to break the law.

Jonathan Wesley Harris, 25, said Thursday that he told lies about his past, which included being in law enforcement, to a security guard at a drug rehabilitation facility. Harris was being treated for a painkiller addiction that, he said, he developed after a knee injury in the North Carolina National Guard.

"Me (trying to) purchase a firearm had nothing to do with my lie," Harris said. "I was trying not to look like a horrible person."

According to an arrest warrant, Harris allegedly told the seller that he was on leave from the sheriff's office and flashed a gold star-shaped badge.

Harris was arrested Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of impersonating a law enforcement officer after the seller called the Wake County Sheriff's Office to confirm his employment.

Harris said Thursday that he was trying to have a friendship with the guard and that once that friendship developed, he offered to sell Harris a firearm.

He denies ever showing a badge.

Court records show that Harris also is on probation in Franklin County for obtaining prescription drugs under false pretenses, and authorities say he once had a concealed carry permit but lost it after failing to appear at a court hearing on the Franklin County charge.

Harris said he believed the transaction would have been legal since his probation ended in August and it would have been legal for him to own a gun.

He said he also never received a letter about the court hearing and believed his permit was active because he showed it to his probation officer several times and no one ever confiscated it.


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  • zenonx6 Jul 12, 2013

    not quite right in the bean

  • Radioactive Ted Jul 12, 2013

    "how do you accidentally tell a lie?" jeffdaughtry

    Ask McCrory that.

  • jeffdaughtry Jul 12, 2013

    how do you accidentally tell a lie?

  • dare107 Jul 12, 2013

    If you tell the truth you don't have remember! The truth is the truth. Not only did he violate the law as far as telling someone he was LEO but he can't purchase a fire arm if he is an addiction to drugs(Federal Violation). I don't think this is a hysterical story about guns by WRAL, it is about someone impersonating a LEO and these people that impersonate LEO are dangerous and I would be willing to bet not his first time! It starts out trying to impress someone, then goes to blue light bandit, then on to dangerous actions that endanger the public.

  • meeper Jul 12, 2013

    Funny. any story having to with guns and the media gets hysterical. I wonder what side of the gun debate they're on?

  • dontstopnow Jul 12, 2013

    Wonder why he needed a gun? I know that is a sort of silly question, but was there just a 'want' or was there a 'need' because of something that happened to him? Not that it really matters, but sure would fill in blanks in my mind.

  • beachboater Jul 12, 2013

    Drugs and guns. Goes together like pancakes and hot mustard.

  • KnightFlyer Jul 12, 2013

    Bravo to the individual who checked out the purchasers story before selling him the firearm.

  • 27228 Jul 12, 2013

    Did he accidentally show the badge?

  • liberty4all2 Jul 11, 2013

    "Me (trying to) purchase a firearm had nothing to do with my lie," Harris said. "I was trying not to look like a horrible person."

    This may come as a shock, but if you don't want to look like a horrible person lying is not the best way to start.