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Investigators search for gun used in deputy's slaying

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WARRENTON, N.C. — Authorities continued to search Thursday for the weapon used in the slaying of a Warren County deputy late Tuesday.

Deputy Michael Leonforte, 31, was found shot to death in his pickup on Warren Plains Road. He was off duty and apparently headed home when he was killed, authorities said.

Quante Seward, 28, and Montellus Burchette, 18, were charged Wednesday night with first-degree murder and attempted robbery in connection with Leonforte's death. They are scheduled to have their first court appearance Friday morning.

Authorities said the slaying was the latest caper pulled by a gang that randomly stops cars and robs the drivers.

"For the community, they are shook up and outraged. It just couldn't happen in our town," Norlina Police Chief Sol Fleming said.

Warren County Sheriff Johnny Williams said more suspects might be arrested in the case.

Agents from the State Bureau of Investigation have finished examining Leonforte's truck, but they and other authorities are still trying to locate the murder weapon. They believe the 9 mm handgun was tossed out of a vehicle along U.S. Highway 1.

"It's always good to have the weapon. We have the bullets and want to get the weapon to match the bullet and the weapon. It will help out in the case," Williams said.


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