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Charlotte Area News

Caldwell County DA Rules SWAT Team Used Self-Defense In Officer-Involved Shooting

Caldwell County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team

District Attorney David Learner's Office has ruled that SWAT team officers acted lawfully when they fatally shot a man during a July 17 incident.

Learner, whose district includes Caldwell, Burke and Catawba counties, said in a statement that officers used self-defense when they shot and killed Kerry Edwin Townsend, 51, after a standoff.

Credit Caldwell County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Jordan Sherrill

Authorities tracked down Townsend at a vacant home in Lenoir after he shot Caldwell County Sheriff’s Deputy Jordan Sherrill, 21, during a July 15 traffic stop. Sherrill was hit below his protective vest and was transported to the hospital for surgery. He has been recovering ever since, officials said.

Officers received information that Townsend was near the vacant Lenoir home and armed with a handgun. When the Caldwell County SWAT team arrived at the scene, Learner said they found Townsend hiding in the home. Learner said Townsend then “suddenly and without warning pulled up his arm and pointed a handgun at SWAT Team members.”

SWAT officers then fired at Townsend until he dropped his gun. Learner said when the handgun was secured, officers attempted to give Townsend first aid. The incident lasted only a few seconds, the DA said.

Two other people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of Deputy Sherrill. Authorities with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said Stephanie Lee Sipes, 40, was in the passenger seat of Townsend’s car when he shot the deputy. She is being charged for accessory to assault with a deadly weapon. James Edgar Roberts, 47, is also facing accessory charges for providing transportation to Townsend and Sipes after the shooting.