UPDATED: North Carolina deputy shot during domestic call; suspect shoots Lenoir resident and steals truck
A deputy in North Carolina was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic call, and the person suspected of shooting him has been identified but not yet captured, stated the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office.
Lenoir County Deputy Steven Key, 30, was shot Thursday night outside a home in La Grange, according to sheriff’s office news release.
The sheriff’s statement said the suspect, identified Friday as Robert Lee Strother, 30, was likely within a perimeter set up by law enforcement.
“We think we have him contained,” Sheriff Ronnie Ingram stated. “As daylight comes on, we’ll have a better idea.”
The statement says the shooter was standing in the yard of the home with his back facing the road when Key arrived. The shooter then turned around and fired at the deputy, striking him in the neck. Key took cover behind his cruiser and called for backup. He was taken to a hospital in Kinston for treatment and released after midnight.
Officials initially said the suspect had barricaded himself inside the home, but a search later revealed he wasn’t there. A man and a woman were arrested on unrelated charges after they were found in an outbuilding on the property.
Four felony warrants were sworn against Strother, including attempted first degree murder, according to the sheriff’s office update just before 7 a.m.
The initial search for Strother included evacuating the neighborhood where the shooting happened. Residents went to stay with family or friends, or were allowed to go to the North Lenoir Volunteer Fire Department No. 3 station.
Information from the sheriff’s office in later updates Friday morning stated that Strother had “shot a Lenoir County resident multiple times and stole his red 2003 Dodge Dakota extended cab pickup truck . . .” The truck was later located in a woodline in the area of Kennedy Home Road, but with no signs of Strother.
“The man who was shot by Strother in the theft of the red 2003 Dodge Dakota at 6:44 a.m., Friday, is in critical condition,” according to Sheriff Ingram.