Carter County deputy charged with murder in NC

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2016


A Carter County deputy has been charged with murder in North Carolina in connection with a line of duty shooting while he was employed by the Avery County N.C. Sheriff’s Office.
The charges against Carter County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joshua Hopkins were announced Wednesday morning in a North Carolina courtroom. A Grand Jury indicted Hopkins on one count of second-degree murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious bodily injury. Both charges are classified as felonies under North Carolina state law.
“The Grand Jury reviewed the case on Monday and issued two true bills of indictment,” Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank told the Elizabethton Star on Wednesday afternoon. According to Frank, the indictments were placed under seal following the Grand Jury hearing.
“Judge Joseph O. Craig unsealed the bills in court today (Wednesday), issued orders for Hopkins’ arrest and set the bond at $250,000,” Frank said.
The charges against Hopkins stem from an incident that happened in Ashe County, N.C., on July 8, 2015, while Hopkins was responding to a call as part of his duties for the Ashe County N.C. Sheriff’s Office.
According to reports in both the Ashe Mountain Times and Jefferson Post newspapers, Hopkins and two other officers responded to a call and they encountered Dallas Arthur Shatley, 62, who was reportedly intoxicated and armed with a weapon. Both newspapers state that Ashe County Sheriff James Williams said during the encounter one of the officers was dragged by a vehicle driven by Shatley and shots were fired. Shatley died as a result of injuries sustained in the incident according to reports.
Frank said the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation was called into investigate the incident. The matter was turned over to the Davidson County District Attorney following a possible conflict of interest with the Ashe County District Attorney’s office.
“We had a very lengthy investigation,” Frank said. “We had an extended investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation into the incident. We waited for the autopsy to be completed on the victim and then there was some additional testing we wanted to do.”
According to reports, Hopkins left his employment with the Ashe County (NC) Sheriff’s Office in October 2015 and joined the force at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.
Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Hopkins had been employed by his department for around a year.
“He’s a good employee,” Lunceford said. “He was highly recommended by his previous sheriff. In fact, his previous sheriff said he would hire him back.”
“There was nothing in his record to indicate anything like this,” Lunceford added.
Following the announcement of the charges against Hopkins, Lunceford said he placed Hopkins on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings in North Carolina.
“We will be cooperating with the North Carolina authorities and we urge Mr. Hopkins to do the same, which I’m sure he will,” Lunceford said. “He will be turning himself over to them.”
During Hopkins’ tenure with the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office he became a regular on the National Geographic Channel’s “Southern Justice” television show which follows law enforcement officers in Ashe County, N.C., and Sullivan County, Tenn.

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