News Roundup

CBS 17 reports that members of the Raleigh Fire and Police departments gathered in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday prior to a city council meeting to protest and call for the city to pay them higher wages.  The City Council was set to consider a 2 percent pay increase for city employees, but those gathered at the protest noted that the cost of living in and around Raleigh has risen more than 2 percent in recent years and that wages weren’t competitive relative to other opportunities.  The CBS 17 report says that vacancies at the police department are at an all-time high, with a vacancy rate around 20%.

Officer Passes.  There was sad news out of Whiteville this week where Whiteville Police Department Sgt. Cameron Lemmons died unexpectedly from a brain tumor on Tuesday.  Lemmons had been with the department for five years and previously served in the military.  The department is working with Lemmons’ family on a diaper drive for his twin sons.  More information about that effort can be found on the department’s Facebook page.

K9 Killed.  WRAL reports that hundreds of people gathered in Louisburg on Monday to honor Franklin County Sheriff K9 Major, who was shot and killed while working a standoff with an armed man last week in Granville County.  Major was tasked with searching a crawlspace where William Darius Eichelberger is alleged to have been hiding with an assault rifle.  Corporal Jamie Lariviere was Major’s handler and lauded Major for taking on the dangerous task that otherwise would have required a human officer.  Major was honored with a procession from the Sheriff’s Office to Louisberg High School.

Patrol Cars Burned.  WSOC-TV reports that a man has been charged with four counts of burning personal property after allegedly setting four North Carolina Highway Patrol vehicles on fire while they were parked at a 7-Eleven.  Video from the scene shows a man, alleged to be Daniel Zelo who was arrested nearby, pouring gasoline on the patrol cars and lighting them on fire.  The troopers operating the cars were on break at the time but ran out to extinguish the flames using fire extinguishers in the cars.

Manslaughter.  A few years ago, the News Roundup noted the passing of Buncombe County Chief Assistant District Attorney Rodney Hasty, who died from an accidental drug overdose involving fentanyl.  This week WLOS reported that Brandon Neels was sentenced to 16 months in prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Hasty’s death.  Neels originally had been charged with second-degree murder.

Robbery Reversal.  WECT reports that a man who allegedly robbed a Dollar General store while armed with a handgun in New Hanover County returned to the store shortly thereafter to return the stolen money out of remorse.  Richard William Dunn was arrested and charged with armed robbery as he got back into his vehicle after returning cash to the front counter of the store and telling an employee “I can’t do this.”

Name Switch.  The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office posted a media release on its Facebook page this week describing an unusual situation that resulted in three Robeson County Detention Center officers being charged with crimes for booking a man into jail under an identity they allegedly knew to be false.  The post says that James Hunt, Jr., claimed that he was Jackie Hunt while he was being booked into jail on drug possession and concealed weapon charges.  Remarkably, at least one of the officers handling the booking seemingly knew that this was false because in fact the officer was Jackie Hunt, James’s brother.  James later bonded out under the false name.  In the media release, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins explained that he does “not tolerate foolishness” and credited the work of investigators with the Professional Standards Division to resolve the situation quickly.