Couple talks about final moments before suspect in Lenoir Co. shootings taken into custody


KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Robert Lee Strother had his first appearance in court Monday morning and is now being held at the W.E. “Billy” Smith Detention Center in Kinston.

Strother’s bond was set at $5 million. He was formally charged in court Monday with the following:

  • Two counts of attempted first-degree murder
  • Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflict deadly injury
  • Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflict serious injury
  • Discharging weapon in an occupied building
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon
  • Robbery with a dangerous weapon
  • Felony larceny
  • Felony possession of stolen goods
  • Felony possession of a firearm by a felon
  • Misdemeanor resisting arrest and obstruct/delay

Strother was also assigned a public defender during the hearing. Since the manhunt ended in an officer-involved shooting, the State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to conduct an investigation.

Residents who spoke with WNCT said are glad the whole ordeal is over and that Strother is in custody.

“I knew him but I didn’t know him real good,” said Terry Taylor. “I knew he was trouble.”

Taylor arrived at home on Saturday and found Strother outside with a gun. He and his wife acted fast, calling 911. Less than 15 minutes later, Taylor said he saw flashing blue lights coming from both directions toward his home.

“He (Strother) looked and he said ‘Oh man’ because there was a whole line of them just waiting,” Taylor said.

Taylor said Strother ran to a nearby barn and was cornered by officers.

“Two SWAT teams went down there on ’em, hollering at him, telling him to stop and everything, and he wouldn’t stop, so that’s when they shot at him,” Taylor said.

The family of Kenny Goff, the man who was also shot in addition to the Lenoir County deputy — Steven Key — say Goff is doing OK as he continues to recover in the hospital. There is no timetable for when he could be released from the hospital.

Friends and family have set up a page to raise money to help pay for Goff’s medical expenses.


KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The Lenoir County man who was wanted in the shooting of a deputy and another person was taken into custody after a shootout Saturday night.

Law enforcement agencies apprehended Robert Lee Strother, 30, after a two-day manhunt. People who spoke with WNCT said they are relieved he has been taken into custody. They said they felt unsettled while he was on the run and are happy he is no longer a danger to the community.

“Relieved. Very relieved. Glad he’s been apprehended,” said Lenoir County resident JL Daughety, who lives in the area where Strother was found.

Lenoir County Public Information Officer Bryan Hanks said the feeling is mutual for those involved in the manhunt and eventual capture of Strother.

“For them to capture him (Saturday) night, right on the cusp of 48 hours … exhilaration is the best way to put it,” Hanks said.

Some people at a home on Banks School road spotted Strother on their porch, and they immediately called police.

“The people who called 911 are as big of heroes as anyone in this,” Hanks said. “They saw him, they recognized him, and knew who law enforcement was searching for.”

Once law enforcement agencies arrived, Strother refused their demand to surrender. A gunfight ensued.

“The leadership of law enforcement of Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, that’s what they expected to happen and that’s how it played out,” Hanks said.

Strother was shot multiple times and was taken by EMS to a local hospital after he was apprehended. No law enforcement were injured on the scene.

“Well, we’ll all be more careful,” Daughety said. “I’m sure to be aware of our surroundings.

Daughety, who also owns a convenience store on Hwy. 70 in Lenoir County, said he knows the second person Strother is accused of shooting before he stole his red pick-up truck.

“I knew the man he shot very well,: Daughety said. “He was a good customer of mine. We’re sorry to hear that.”

For Daughety and others in the area, one thing’s for sure.

“We’re glad he got caught,” Daughety said

Officials have not released any new information on Strother’s condition. The man who was shot Friday morning is said to still be in critical condition.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

LKQD Outstream