By Cash Michaels –
A “…deplorable and unnecessary act of terrorism” is what the NC NAACP calls the shocking vigilante raid on a Pender County African American family May 3rd.
The raid was led by an off-duty New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy armed with a handgun, and a group of other whites—two of whom were also armed, one with an assault rifle, the other with a shotgun.
The inexplicable event has made headlines around the world, and caused many to shudder as to the tragedy that could have happened, and the danger the family faced.
“The deplorable and unnecessary act of terrorism on the Shepard family cannot go ignored and our indignation will not be concealed,” says Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP. “Until protection of the law reaches to all, none of us will ever be safe.”
At press time, New Hanover/Pender County District Attorney Ben David still had the matter under criminal investigation, but thus far, this much has been alleged from official and published reports:
At around 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 3, off-duty New Hanover County Detention Officer Jordan Kita, while in uniform, led a group of white men, some armed, to the home of Monica Shepard and her son Dameon in the Avendale community of Rocky Point in Pender County. The raid was purportedly undertaken in the process of searching for a missing 15-year-old girl, who was later found, whom Kita reportedly knew through family connections.
Dameon, a graduating senior at Laney High School in Wilmington, in New Hanover County, answered the door, estimating that about “15 people” were outside.
Kita mistakenly thought that the black teen was someone else who previously lived next door and knew the girl. Kita apparently refused to believe Dameon’s repeated denials, in addition to his assertions that the men had the wrong house.
Kita reportedly put his foot in the door preventing it from closing. A frightened Dameon angrily repeated his denials and the fact that he was not the other black teen Kita was reportedly looking for. He even noted a sign with his name on it on the front lawn.
That’s when Dameon’s mother, Monica, awoke, came to the door, and confronted Kita, insisting that he had the wrong house, and needed to leave.
Neighbors apparently called Pender Sheriff’s Dept., which sent two deputies to the address. Reportedly, they made no arrests, took no names, and did no investigation at the time.
Pender County Sheriff Cutler applauded his officers for not making any arrests, saying it was more important to defuse the situation. D.A. David said that because a law enforcement officer was involved, it was protocol to do a criminal investigation first.
Jordan Kita was fired from his job with the New Hanover Sheriff’s Dept. on Friday, May 8, after an internal investigation ordered by New Hanover Sheriff Jim McMahon.
Kita was also charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering, forcible trespassing, and willful failure to discharge duties. Kita is accused of going to the Shepard’s “…while armed and in uniform in a county where he was not duly sworn in and in furtherance of personal—not law enforcement—purposes,” David said during a May 8 press conference.
Another allegedly armed man with Kita, Robert Austin Wood, was charged with “going armed to the terror of the public.”
More may be charged, the District Attorny told reporters Friday.
Wilmington Attorney James W. Lea of the Lea Schultz Law Firm, who is representing the family, said a civil suit is coming after he completes his probe. In a letter to authorities, Attorney Lea called Kita and his group “a lynch mob, literally.”
Monica Shepard feels blessed that the worst didn’t happen.
“Coming to the door like that with a mob of people with guns, what do we expect? What were their intentions? What if he was the person they were looking for or what if I was not home? What would’ve happened? I don’t want to have that conversation,” she told a local TV station. “I don’t want [Dameon] to be a statistic. It’s scary.”
“In these unprecedented times, our vigilance must prevail over the violence,” NCNAACP Pres. Spearman says. “As communicated to District Attorney Ben David on Saturday, we are looking to him to ensure that justice plays out this time and we will not settle for anything less. The ball is in his court.”