Sheriff’s Office: Off-duty Salisbury police officer, cousin left man ‘bleeding profusely’

Published 11:56 pm Sunday, March 14, 2021

SALISBURY — A police officer and his cousin left a man bleeding profusely in a Rockwell home before driving away in a compact car, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

Malik Byrd, a 23-year-old Salisbury Police officer, and Kiante Cotton, a 23-year-old Durham resident who’s still at large, face assault and breaking and entering charges after an incident at a residence on Wilcoy Road in Rockwell.

While Byrd turned himself in Sunday and remains in jail without bond, Cotton is still being sought by law enforcement officers. The Sheriff’s Office said it notified Durham Police that Cotton, whose address is an apartment off of Woodcroft Parkway in Durham, is wanted.

The incident started when Byrd, who was off-duty at the time, called a woman Saturday night to ask who was at her house and said he intended to come over. He arrived at about 11:30 p.m. and was met on the back porch by the woman, who attempted the lock the door behind her to prevent Byrd from entering. The woman told Rowan County Sheriff’s Office deputies she believed Byrd had been drinking.

When she told Byrd she was going to call 911, he allegedly grabbed her arm, took her phone and kept it to prevent her from calling.

Byrd is accused of shoving her out of the doorway before he and his cousin forcefully entered the residence, made their way to a bedroom and confronted a man inside.

In an incident report, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said the woman tried to stand between Byrd, Cotton and the male victim. Byrd allegedly grabbed the woman’s arms and pushed her out of the way before he and his cousin struck the male victim in the head, shoulders and back.

The male victim told Rowan County Sheriff’s Office deputies he also tried to use his cellphone, but it was pulled from his hand by Byrd. He told first responders he was light-headed and was observed “bleeding profusely from his nose,” The male victim declined to be transported to the hospital.

Byrd and Cotton left in a blue Nissan Versa after the female victim ran outside of the house and began screaming for help, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Byrd’s charges include assault on a female, simple assault, breaking and entering with the intent to terrorize or injure and interfering with emergency communication. The city of Salisbury said Byrd, who’s worked for the Salisbury Police Department since 2018, has been placed on administrative leave with pay following the incident.

Cotton faces charges for simple assault and breaking and entering with intent to terrorize or injure.