Craven County deputy shot during Friday night incident out of ICU; suspect has first court appearance

Crime Tracker

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — On Monday, the suspect charged in the shooting of a Craven County deputy last Friday was in court.

Robert Westrup went before a judge and was charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault on a law enforcement officer, Craven County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Zachary Bellingham, with a firearm. Westrup is charged with Assault on a Law Enforcement With a Deadly Weapon and Attempted First Degree Murder. He is being held under a $2 million secured bond. Additional charges will be filed at a later date.

If convicted, Westrup could be looking at 20-25 years in prison, District Attorney Scott Thomas said. Thomas said his office will be working with the Sheriff’s Office as they complete their investigation. Once they receive the full investigative file, they’ll review the charges, and consider any additional charges, which would be presented to a grand jury for indictment.

“The message that should come out of this is that when people have interactions with law enforcement, they should listen to and follow lawful commands of law enforcement,” Thomas told WNCT’s Claire Curry on Monday. “The time to argue or challenge your case is not at a scene or on the side of the road, it’s in the courtroom.”

Thomas also said Bellingham is out of intensive care at Vidant Medical Center but still has a long road to recovery.

The SBI continues to investigate at the request of Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes and Thomas.


NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said one deputy was shot and two others were OK after being “roughed up a little bit” during a welfare check Friday night.

The location of the incident was at 165 Crooked Run Drive, just outside of James City. The incident began around 9 p.m. Friday after the sheriff’s office was contacted to serve an Involuntary Commitment Order issued by a magistrate on Robert Joseph Westrup, 41.

After speaking with the deputies, officials said Westrup became noncompliant and rushed to the upstairs area of his house. Deputies followed him and tried to take him into custody before he shot Deputy Zachary Bellingham in the abdomen.

Deputies returned fire with two of them taking cover upstairs in a bedroom. They were unable to move due to where Westrup was located. Other deputies were able to move Bellingham to safety and call for assistance.

(Erin Jenkins, WNCT photo)

Another deputy later came and provided coverage for the two trapped deputies to exit the home. New Bern police, members of the NC State Highway Patrol, members of the State Bureau of Investigation and other officials quickly arrived and tried to talk Westrup to come out of the home.

Tear gas was deployed into the home as a negotiator continued to try to reach Westrup. Westrup soon exited the home and gave up. He was taken into custody without incident.

Bellingham was transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern then flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. He had emergency surgery for the gunshot wound and is expected to recover. He has been taken out of ICU.

Westrup was also taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center and flown to Vidant Medical for a single gunshot wound. He was treated and released then transported to the Craven County Detention Center.

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