Suspect says he never intended to break law over gun deal
Posted July 11, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.