Rape suspect shot in chest during confrontation with Newton Grove police chief, radio traffic reveals

Local News

NEWTON GROVE, N.C. (WNCN) – The 49-year-old rape suspect who was shot by the Newton Grove police chief on Tuesday broke into the victim’s home and “forcibly committed sexual acts on the victim” before the shooting, officials said.

The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said Michael Almer Rich of Clinton made the victim leave her home at gunpoint before they went into Newton Grove Tuesday morning.

Michael Almer Rich (SCSO)

While outside a store, the victim flagged a woman and asked for help.

That woman then called 911.

Listen to the 911 call in the video player at the top of this story

Newton Grove Police Chief Gregory Warren.

“I was coming out the door and I was stopped by a woman in a car right in front of the store and has asked me to call 911 and not to look at her or anything. The man she is with has a gun and she feels threatened. He’s already raped her and everything,” a caller told 911 dispatch.

The suspect was in a store when the call was made but he soon left the store and drove off from the scene, the caller said.

“She had obviously been crying and I parked beside her and I got in my vehicle and called,” the caller said.

The suspect then pulled up next to a restaurant in the area.

“I believe he’s probably figured out I was following them so I am no longer behind them right now,” the caller said.

The caller made a second call to 911 after seeing the suspect vehicle at the gas station at the town’s traffic circle.

Newton Grove Police Chief Gregory Warren responded and located the suspect which led to shots being fired.

Radio traffic released by the sheriff’s office reveals Rich suffered chest wounds during the shooting. He is said to be in fair condition as of Thursday.

The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said it will not release information about the confrontation between Warren and Rich as the SBI is handling that investigation.

Once Rich leaves the hospital, he will faces charges of:

  • First-degree kidnapping
  • First-degree sexual offense
  • Breaking and entering
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon

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