NEWTON GROVE, N.C. (WNCN) — Authorities identified the town’s police chief as the officer who shot a kidnapping and rape suspect Tuesday in Newton Grove.
Chief Gregory Warren shot the suspect on Tuesday afternoon, according to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
Witnesses said they saw the chief and suspect scuffle briefly near gas pumps in the traffic circle at the center of town before there were shots fired.
“It was a horrible escalation of things. However, we just want to know the actual details, and that justice was served, and that the right steps were taken,” said Francisco Benitez, who owns Munchies Kitchen next to where it took place.
Yessica Ibarra was ringing up a customer at her workplace nearby when it happened.
“I just turned to punch in the numbers and I heard two shots,” Ibarra said.
She said her customer went to check it out and came back.
“He just said he saw the guy on the ground next to the gas pump and the officer was just standing there,” Ibarra said.
The incident started at the Dollar General nearby. An employee there said the man came in and that a woman he was with outside waived down a customer. The employee said the woman told that customer she was being held against her will and that the man was armed.
“It was scary. It’s the first time I’ve heard that around here,” Ibarra said.
Authorities said the responding officer was Warren, who is the Chief of the Newton Grove Police Department. He came to find the suspect at Sam’s Circle Mart just before 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Witnesses said they saw him and suspect briefly scuffle outside, then shots fired.
“That’s really unheard of around here,” Benitez said.
Three people make up the small Sampson County town’s police department.
CBS 17 went to the chief’s house, but he said he couldn’t comment.
“I really want to know because you never know around here. It’s so small and the first time you hear of that, it was so close here to me. Scary,” Ibarra said.
Both the sheriff’s office and SBI are investigating.
Officials said the victim involved in the kidnapping report is OK. The suspect was listed in fair condition, as of Wednesday afternoon.
The incident leaves the Newton Grove Police Department with just two officers.
Neighbors said Warren grew up in town and has done a lot to help the community.