Local News

Deputy who killed Harnett County man will resign

Posted June 23, 2016 4:03 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2016 3:43 p.m. EDT

— Harnett County deputy Nicholas D. Kehagias, who shot and killed 33-year-old John Livingston on the front porch of his Spring Lake home in November, announced his resignation Thursday afternoon.

In a resignation letter to Sheriff Wayne Coats, Kehagias said his resignation is effective June 30.

"Over the last three years it has been my great honor and joy to serve the citizens of Harnett County as a member of this Office. I have taken great pride in my job and in doing everything I could to enforce North Carolina laws, but more importantly, in helping every person I was able," the letter said.

"As such, it is incredibly difficult for me to do this, but I cannot risk putting my fellow law enforcement officers in increased danger due to the environment created by a dishonest media and a baseless lawsuit, combined with the dangerous rhetoric or actions of certain person(s) in the community."

Deputies responded to Livingston's home 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.

Authorities said Livingston then became combative and was shot.Jesse Jones, who is representing Livingston's mother in the civil suit, said Kehgias' statement didn't sit well with the family.

"They were happy, but they felt like it was a slap in the face by what he said," Jones said.

Family friend Maria Aria said she too was disappointed by the statement.

"When I read what his reasons were, a dishonest media and rhetoric from the same person in the community, I thought it was a joke," said family friend Maria Arias. "They would have preferred if the sheriff had let him go."

An autopsy determined that Livingston had alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time and that he had been shot three times from an "indeterminate/distant range."

The FBI is investigating the case.