North Carolina delegate killed; search for shooter

RALEIGH, NC — A sheriff’s deputy was killed after stopping along a dark stretch of road in North Carolina, prompting authorities to launch a manhunt for whoever fired the shots late Thursday night.

“We will find out who is responsible for this loss. Even in the midst of the pain and the hurt, we ask for prayer, we ask for patience as we find out what happened and who is responsible,” Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said at a news conference early Friday morning.

The sheriff’s office identified the slain deputy sheriff as Deputy Ned Byrd, 48, a K-9 officer who had been with the office for 13 years. Byrd was fatally shot after 11 p.m. Thursday night on a dark section of Battle Bridge Road adjacent to open land about a quarter of a mile (0.4 kilometers) from a gas station, sheriff’s office spokesman Eric Curry said by phone.

“We’re trying to figure out why the deputy stopped where he did,” Curry said.

Earlier in the evening, Byrd had responded to a domestic call less than a mile away and then entered his notes into the system, Curry said. There was no radio traffic to indicate Byrd was making a traffic stop, as proceedings would have dictated that he check in, he said. However, it appears that as Byrd was patrolling the area, something caught his attention along the road, as his vehicle was positioned as if it was supposed to illuminate something, he said.

When Byrd failed to respond to several attempts to check in, another deputy was sent to check and found Byrd shot outside his vehicle with his K-9 still in the vehicle, Curry said.

Multi-agency law enforcement officers were in the area Friday to participate in “a manhunt for the perpetrator or perpetrators,” Curry said.

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In North Carolina, several sheriff’s officers have been shot and injured in recent weeks. Sergeant Matthew Fishman of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office was murdered last week. He was one of three deputies shot at a house south of Goldsboro on Aug. 1 while attempting to serve involuntary commitment papers at a house south of Goldsboro.

Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement that he is troubled by the “recent wave of violence against law enforcement.”

“Officials are risking their lives to protect our communities — we must do everything we can to keep them safe,” he said. “I thank the many civilian-minded officers who serve and protect the people of North Carolina throughout the state.”

Byrd joined the sheriff as a detention officer in 2009 and was sworn in as a deputy in 2018, according to the sheriff.

Former sheriff Donnie Harrison recalled that Byrd’s goal was to become a deputy, WNCN-TV reported.

“I allowed my detention officers, if they were qualified, to move into the deputy position,” Harrison said. “He tried a few times and it finally worked. He was a happy person and I was a happy person for him. That’s what makes it so difficult.”

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