Deputy shot during domestic call; officials look for suspect

A deputy in North Carolina was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic call, and the person suspected of shooting him has been identified but not yet captured, a sheriff’s office said.

Lenoir County Deputy Steven Key, 30, was shot Thursday night outside a home in La Grange, according to sheriff’s office news release.

The sheriff’s statement said the suspect, identified Friday as Robert Lee Strother, 30, was likely within a perimeter set up by law enforcement.

“We think we have him contained,” Sheriff Ronnie Ingram stated. “As daylight comes on, we’ll have a better idea.”

The statement says the shooter was standing in the yard of the home with his back facing the road when Key arrived. The shooter then turned around and fired at the deputy, striking him in the neck. Key took cover behind his cruiser and called for backup. He was taken to a hospital in Kinston for treatment and released after midnight.

Officials initially said the suspect had barricaded himself inside the home, but a search later revealed he wasn’t there. A man and a woman were arrested on unrelated charges after they were found in an outbuilding on the property.

Four felony warrants were sworn against Strother, including attempted first degree murder, according to the sheriff’s office update just before 7 a.m.

The initial search for Strother included evacuating the neighborhood where the shooting happened. Residents went to stay with family or friends, or were allowed to go to the North Lenoir Volunteer Fire Department No. 3 station.

La Grange is about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southeast of Raleigh.

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