Three-hour standoff in Carteret County ends after suspect exits vehicle, shoots himself, dies at hospital

Crime Tracker

NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCT) — A three-hour standoff between a wanted Carteret County man and law enforcement ended Friday afternoon when he shot himself and later died, officials said.

Ambulance leaving scene after shooting (Kayla Schmidt, WNCT video)

Richard Kelly Murphrey, 35, of Gloucester, N.C. was in serious condition after officials said he exited his vehicle and shot himself. He was transported to Carteret Health Care where he died, Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck told WNCT’s Kayla Schmidt.

“We got EMS up there as quickly as we could, transferred him to the hospital and as of this time we have been notified he has died,” Buck said.

The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office shut down all five lanes of NC Hwy. 24 near Paradise Lane on Friday around 12:30 p.m. after Murphrey locked himself in his vehicle. The road was reopened around 3 p.m., shortly after the shooting.

Just after noon, deputies conducted a vehicle stop on Murphrey. He had several warrants out against him including habitual felon, carrying a concealed weapon and numerous drug charges.

Law enforcement from the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Morehead City police and the NC State Highway Patrol had the vehicle Murphrey was driving cornered at a location off NC Hwy. 24, which prompted the closure of that part of the highway.

Buck also said there were two other people in Murphrey’s vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. They got out and have no charges against them. Officials were able to track Murphrey’s vehicle with GPS using his his phone.

WNCT’s Kayla Schmidt reports Murphrey was on Facebook posting photos of law enforcement around his vehicle. He was also posting threats and took a photo of what looked like him holding a high-powered gun in his lap.

Buck confirmed Murphrey was armed with an AK-47 and “lots of ammo” in his vehicle.

Earlier Friday, there was a brief period where schools in the eastern part of Carteret County were on lockdown as a precaution as law enforcement searched for Murphrey. The lockdown was lifted when it was determined he was no longer in the area.

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