State briefs: Officials: Middle school students steal teacher’s car

Published 11:47 pm Saturday, November 6, 2021

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — A group of students stole car keys and cash from a North Carolina school teacher’s purse before crashing the vehicle they took into a tree, a sheriff’s office said.

The reports from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office says a suspect took car keys and a purse with cash from the tote bag of a teacher at Wiley Middle School, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools also confirmed the incident.

Winston-Salem police spotted the vehicle around 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Hours later, the sheriff’s office said, a person driving the stolen Jeep Cherokee crashed into a tree. The driver fled and three juvenile passengers were taken to the hospital for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, officials said.

School district spokesman Brent Campbell said security and surveillance cameras helped law enforcement identify the students, who will be disciplined according to district policy. Specific details are protected by federal student privacy laws, Campbell said.

Armed man outside Walmart fatally shot

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Two police officers serving in North Carolina’s largest city have been placed on administrative leave while the circumstances of a fatal shooting of an armed man outside a Walmart are investigated, authorities said on Saturday.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking at Friday’s shooting by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers. The police department identified on Saturday the armed man who died as 23-year-old Derrell Lamar Raney.

According to a police news release, a security guard contracted by Walmart at an east Charlotte store told police officers shortly before 6 p.m. that a man pointed a firearm at him and that he also threatened to shoot officers if they responded.

Police Chief Johnny Jennings said officers found the subject in the parking lot, WCNC-TV reported.  Officers perceived a “lethal threat” as they approached the man, according to the police statement

“When officers encountered the subject, he pointed a firearm at the officers,” Jennings said. “They did shoot and injured the individual.” Raney was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police said a firearm was recovered at the scene.

The officers involved in the shooting were identified by the department as James Longworth, who joined the agency in 2018, and Micah Edmunds, who was hired in 2016. It’s standard policy for officers to be placed on administrative leave when they discharge their weapon.

Former university worker accused of embezzling $900,000

DURHAM (AP) — A former information technology worker at North Carolina Central University has been accused of embezzling $900,000 from the school, officials said.

Kenya M. Ward, 44, of Durham, is charged with one count of embezzlement of state property, according to an arrest warrant. News outlets report that North Carolina Central said Friday that Ward no longer works for the school.

In a statement, N.C. Central said it had received an internal inquiry about the misappropriation of funds and conducted an investigation. Ward is accused embezzling nearly $900,285 from the university’s bookstore and food service departments, according to the arrest warrant.

Ward held the position of business and technology application analyst/Eagle Card office manager, the warrant states. The Office of Business and Auxiliary Services oversees the bookstore, food services and Eagle Card office.

Ward was arrested Thursday and released from jail on a $1 million unsecured bond, court documents show. She said she’s not guilty.

The alleged crime occurred from January 2018 to April of this year, according to the arrest warrant, which was issued Aug. 23.

Officers assaulted
at jail, 1 stabbed

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Three officers at a North Carolina jail were assaulted by an inmate who they were trying to move to a disciplinary unit away from the general population, the sheriff’s office said.

The three officers were attempting to move 39-year-old inmate Eric Henderson to the detention unit at the Mecklenburg County jail on Tuesday,  The Charlotte Observer reported. Henderson refused to heed the officers’ commands and stabbed one of them with “homemade weapons,” the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office said.

The wounded officer was treated by the jail’s medical’s staff before he was taken to a hospital before he was released, according to the sheriff’s office, which added that the other two officers sustained non-life-threatening and minor injuries.

Henderson is being charged with possession of weapon by a prisoner, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflicting serious injury and assault inflicting serious injury on a law enforcement, probation, parole officer or on a person employed at a state or local detention facility, according to the sheriff’s office.

2 children hurt when bullet hits vehicle in drive-thru

DURHAM (AP) — Two children were shot while sitting in the back seat of a vehicle in a Burger King drive-thru on Thursday night, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office said.

The vehicle was struck by a bullet at the Burger King on U.S. Route 70, breaking a window and hitting two children in the back seat, the sheriff’s office said in a news release Friday. The family fled and took the children to a hospital for treatment of injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening, officials said.

Witnesses reported hearing shots nearby at the time that the vehicle was struck, but no suspects were seen, the sheriff’s office said. The family is not believed to be the intended target.