ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — Two Robeson County sheriff’s deputies were shot Tuesday morning near Maxton as they were trying to arrest a man who was out of jail on bond for murder and armed-robbery charges.
It happened at about 9:30 a.m. after deputies responded to Lois Ann Drive in Maxton to look for the suspect, Shawn Tobin Locklear Jr.
At an afternoon news conference, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins identified the deputies as Jonathan Walters, 37, and Kaelin Locklear, 23. Walters has worked with the department since March 2020, while Kaelin Locklear, 23, has been with the department since May 2021.
In a news release, Tuesday evening, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins’ office said Walters was in critical but stable condition after being shot in the lower body. Kaelin Locklear was in stable condition after being shot in the upper body. The suspect, Shawn Tobin Locklear Jr., was also shot multiple times and flown to a hospital.
Deputies said Tuesday night that when Locklear Jr. is released from the hospital, he will face several charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, felony hit-and-run, possession of a weapon of mass destruction, possession of cocaine and marijuana, and two counts of resisting and obstructing an officer.
After the shooting, the deputies were taken in separate patrol vehicles to Scotland Memorial Hospital in Laurinburg, Wilkins said. They were then taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where they were underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon.
Wilkins said two people who lived in the area near where the shooting happened helped care for the deputies. One of them helped apply a tourniquet on one of the wounded deputies and another provided towels.
Locklear Jr. was taken to Scotland Memorial and then flown to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, Wilkins said. He was also shot multiple times.
According to Wilkins, Locklear Jr. began shooting at the deputies after they pursued him into some woods.
The deputies could hear him in the woods and then saw him behind a tree, Wilkins said. The deputies asked him to put down his weapons and come out, but instead, Wilkins said, Locklear Jr. “jumped out from behind the tree” and began shooting.
Wilkins said Locklear Jr. then got into one of the deputy’s cruisers and ran over a deputy, later identified as Walters, while trying to get away. The deputy suffered a broken leg.
At that point, Wilkins said another deputy began shooting at the cruiser with Locklear Jr. inside. Locklear Jr. then backed into another patrol car and drove away on Old Red Springs Road before he was stopped and taken into custody.
Locklear Jr. was one of three people arrested in December 2022 and charged with murder in the death of Joshua R. Hunt, 28, of Red Springs. He was released on bond on May 5, according to Wilkins, who said a judge approved his bond even though “pre-trial release people didn’t want this guy out on bond.”
An angry Wilkins said at Tuesday afternoon’s news conference that Locklear Jr. was previously arrested in March 2022 on an armed robbery charge and “made bond that day.”
“Study who is doing this. The records are public at the clerk’s office. You can see what judges are letting these people out,” Wilkins said. “We have some great judges that set high bonds. I understand that bond can’t be used as a punishment, bond is there to assure an appearance. But to give a person a lower bond and put them on pretrial release and let them put a plastic band on their leg, only for them to come out and do this today, that’s a joke.”
Wilkins said Locklear Jr. had not been wearing an ankle-monitoring bracelet since September and that it “just took us this long to catch him.”
“A plastic bracelet on your ankle for murder means nothing,” Wilkins said.
Robeson County District Attorney Matt Scott responded to the scene, and the United States Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and other agencies are assisting with the investigation, Wilkins said.
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