December 12th, 2006, 03:06 Posted By: wraggster
In a surprising turn of events, a former New Hanover County sheriff's deputy was charged today in the shooting death of a teen accused of stealing a Playstation 3 console.
Cpl. Christopher Long, 34, was indicted Monday on second-degree murder for the death of 18-year-old college student Payton Strickland, which was shot Dec. 1.
Stories do not address whether Strickland had a controller in his hand when he was shot, though his roommate said that might have been the case. The stories do say he was unarmed.
District Attorney Ben David said Long mistook the sound of another sheriff deputy's battering ram hitting a door as a gunshot. Strickland was shot in the shoulder and once in the head. The fatal shot first ricocheted off of another object, according to an autopsy report.
Deputies believed that the raid would be high risk because of pictures found on the Internet which showed one of Strickland's friend's posing with guns and because UNC Wilmington police had said they had received information that the friend, who didn't live with Strickland, was known to carry a weapon.
Strickland and two friends were suspected of beating a UNC Wilmington student and robbing him of two Playstation 3s in November.
"This indictment is an important first step in holding accountable everyone responsible for Peyton's death - but this is only a first step," his parents, Don and Kathy Strickland, said in a written statement. "None of these actions can bring Peyton back to us, but perhaps they can save someone else's child."
Family and friends of Long, who was fired last week, described the man as widely known, respected and loved. He has, they say, received death threats since the shooting.
These cases are never black and white and in my investigatory experience, which is quite substantial, chargning an officer or deputy in a case like this is very rare. Brian Crecente
Former N.C. sheriff's deputy charged in death of teen during raid
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