NEWTON GROVE, N.C. (WNCN) – The Newton Grove police chief who shot a kidnapping and rape suspect on June 15 was justified in doing so, according to a news release from District Attorney Ernie Lee.
The decision was made after a review of the investigation done by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the video of the incident. The suspect’s actions caused Newton Grove Police Chief Gregory Calvin Warren “to reasonably believe it necessary to use deadly force to protect his life,” the release said.
On June 15, Warren was among those responding to a call about a female victim who had been kidnapped and raped. The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, Michael Almer Rich, was armed and holding the victim against her will, authorities previously said.
Almer was shot during a confrontation with the chief.
According to the DA, Warren noticed the suspect vehicle, a Ford Focus, parked outside Sam’s Circle Mart and stopped. Warren asked to speak with Rich as he exited the store. While talking, Rich began walking away from Warren and toward the Ford Focus.
Warren grabbed Rich by the shoulder in an attempt to stop him from walking away. Rich turned toward him and pulled a gun from under his shirt. He pointed in the direction of Warren’s face. Warren pushed the gun away, stepped back, and shot Rich three times, the release said.
Warren was not wearing a bodycam and his unmarked Ford F-150 truck did not have a camera.
Rich was taken to the hospital and has since been incarcerated. He was charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sex offense, felony breaking and entering, and possession of a firearm by a felon.