Local News

Autopsy: Deputies shot teen three times

Posted May 28, 2010 2:14 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2010 3:38 p.m. EDT

— An Overhills Middle School eighth-grader was shot three times by Harnett County deputies during a fatal January altercation, according to an autopsy report released Friday.

Joseph Guy Wheeler, 13, was killed outside the Super Mart convenience store, at 1943 N.C. Highway 24/87 in Cameron, on Jan. 19.

Cpl. S. Assman and Sgt. T. Daggett of the Harnett County Sheriff's Office were on patrol when they observed Wheeler sitting in a ditch in front of the convenience store. The deputies asked the boy to show them what was in a book bag lying nearby, and they saw a 9 mm and a .22-caliber handgun inside, along with about 250 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

Wheeler then pulled another 9 mm handgun out and shot Assman in the leg, authorities said. Both deputies then returned fire, killing the boy, he said.

The autopsy report states Wheeler was shot once each in the face, neck and abdomen.

Wheeler was dressed in a black shirt and leather jacket, camouflage pants, black boots and a black baseball cap, according to the autopsy report. He had a holster in the waistband of his pants and black leather gloves in his jacket pocket.

No drugs or alcohol were detected in his system, according to the autopsy report.

Investigators declined to comment about the teen's intentions or where he got the weapons and ammunition.

The State Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate the case, which is routine in an officer-involved shooting. Assman and Daggett were placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.