FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN)—The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement warning the public to be aware of who they and their children are around.

Sheriff Ennis W. Wright said their increased concern comes after news coverage of the homeless camp at Martin Luther King Freeway and the Gillespie Street Bridge.

Michael Harris (NCSOR)

Wright said a man who identified himself as “Uncle Mike” is living at the homeless camp and is a registered sex offender whom the sheriff’s office has been monitoring.

According to the sheriff’s office, “Uncle Mike” is Michael Harris, a 56-year-old registered sex offender.

The sheriff’s office said Harris was arrested by Fayetteville police in 1993 and later convicted of murder and rape.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety says Harris was convicted of the rape and second-degree murder in March 2008 and then released in September 2010.

Harris has been arrested multiple times by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, with the most recent arrest being in 2020, Wright said.

There are 11 other registered sex offenders living in the MLK and Gillespie Street Bridge area, Wright stated.

Currently, there are “23 homeless sex offenders registered in Cumberland County,” Wright said in a release.

However, although they are not staying in permanent dwellings, Wright said where they are staying does comply with the Sex Offender Registry.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said they want to make the public aware and ensure public safety and does want the homeless community to have assistance.

Wright stated that the Sex Offender Registration Enforcement Unit is dedicated and works to keep the public safe and make sure “registered offenders do not re-offend,” and it tracks 843 registered offenders in Cumberland County.

For information on where active offenders live in your area click here.

 And If you have any questions about the sex offender registry in Cumberland County, NC please contact (910)672-5655 or (910)672-5665.