Local News

Harnett deputy won't face charges in fatal shooting

Posted April 11, 2016 5:45 p.m. EDT
Updated April 11, 2016 9:25 p.m. EDT

— A Harnett County grand jury decided Monday there isn't enough evidence to indict a deputy involved in a fatal shooting last fall.

John Livingston, 33, was shot and killed on the front porch of his Spring Lake home Nov. 15 by Deputy Nicholas Kehagias.

Deputies arrived at Livingston's Everett Street 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. A deputy suffered minor injuries in the confrontation.

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."

Friends, relatives and other supporters of Livingston gathered outside of the Harnett County Courthouse on Monday to pray while the grand jury hearing went on behind closed doors inside.

"He needs to go to prison," Maria Arias, a friend of Livingston's, said of the Kehagias. "Harnett County is filthy. They need to clean it up. They stink, and they need to throw out the trash."

"He had no right to be there, let alone kick down the door when he was denied entrance to the home," said Stephanie Donovan, whose son lived with Livingston.

"I've never seen John get violent with anyone. Everyone in the neighborhood loved him," said Jessika Cardwell, the mother of Livingston's three young children. "They get scared whenever they see a cop now. They teach you in school to respect cops. I try to tell them that all cops aren't bad."

A State Bureau of Investigation agent and some witnesses testified before the grand jury. An attorney for Kehagias asked that the deputy be allowed to testify, but his request was denied.

When word came down that Kehagias wouldn't be charged, the crowd outside was devastated.

"I'm just in shock right now. This was our only hope," Cardwell said, choking back tears.

"I'm not surprised. This is Harnett County," Arias said. "Time to take the garbage out."