Local News

Facebook comment from Sampson County deputy sparks internal investigation

Posted July 4, 2016 5:16 p.m. EDT

— The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that it is investigating a comment made online by a deputy following a Sunday morning incident in Salemburg that left one dead and several more injured.

According to the Sampson County Sheriff's Office, deputies discovered several groups fighting at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday at the Lakewood Country Club and attempted to break up the fights. One deputy received minor injuries when his arm was cut with broken glass during the fight, and a deputy's vehicle was struck by people trying to leave the scene.

Three people were shot, one person was stabbed and two people were beaten during the fights. The victims were transported to Sampson Regional Medical Center and Cape Fear Valley Hospital with severe injuries.

In a Facebook post about the incident, one person commented “they won’t be getting their deposit back” to which Deputy Patrick Foreman replied, “It don’t matter, it was paid for on EBT.”

EBT stands for electronic benefit transfer and is used to issue food stamps.

Capt. Eric Pope with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said the department takes the comment seriously and has launched an internal investigation.

“The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office does not condone the comment or that type of behavior,” Pope said.

The comment has since been deleted.

Foreman had the day off Monday for the Fourth of July, Pope said, but he could not comment on what action will be taken against the deputy.

According to officials, one victim, Anthony King of Roseboro, died shortly after noon Sunday from injuries he suffered in the fights. Other victims have been identified as Star Royal of Roseboro, Mary Denise Rich of Huntington, N.Y., and Daniel Cleveland Cooper of Salemburg.

A criminal investigation into Sunday morning’s incident was still underway.