Deputy Fired, Charged After Leading Vigilante Group To Wrong Address
Rocky Point, NC – A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy was fired after he led a group of armed vigilantes to a home in search of a missing girl.
The incident began at about 10 p.m. on May 3 when New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputy Jordan Kita arrived at the front door of the Shepherd family in the Avendale neighborhood, Port City Daily reported.
Laney High School senior Dameon Shepherd said he answered the door to find Deputy Kita, in his uniform, flanked by two men holding a shotgun and an AR-15.
Shepherd said there were about 15 more people behind the deputy, and all of them were white, Port City Daily reported.
The group tried to force their way inside the home.
They were searching for missing 15-year-old Lekayda Kempisty, but it turned out they had the wrong address.
The home they were looking for was next door to the Shepherds’ house, and the girl wasn’t there either, FOX News reported.
Shepherd’s attorney, James W. Lea, said there was a big sign in the Shepherd’s front yard that congratulated the graduating Laney High School senior, FOX News reported.
It was that sign that finally helped the men outside Shepherd’s home understand they were not at the home of the Topsail High School student named “Josiah” whom they were looking for in connection with Kempisty’s disappearance.
Kempisty was later found alive elsewhere, FOX News reported.
Shepherd’s attorney said he was preparing to file a lawsuit on behalf of the family.
Lea has complained that Pender County sheriff’s deputies took down no names and made no arrests despite the fact that the throng of people who had just left the Shepherds’ house came back to the scene when they saw the police car arrive, according to Port City Daily.
“During this period of time, the deputies made no arrests, took no names of the individual who were at the Shepard residence, and apparently conducted no investigation,” the attorney said.
Lea, who was New Hanover Democratic Party chairman in the 1980s and 1990s told Port City Daily that what happened to Dameon Shepherd was one of the worst cases of racial profiling that he’d ever seen in the area.
“I don’t think in my 40 years of living here in New Hanover County I’ve ever seen anything like this,” he said. “We are so lucky that nobody got shot or killed. To arrive on somebody’s doorstep in 2020, with a gang of people, guns — I don’t know what a police officer was doing out here … It’s just such a bad case of racial profiling and discrimination, along with just outrageous behavior. And we can’t tolerate it in 2020, or in any time.”
The attorney said he was looking for accountability, Port City Daily reported.
“We can’t have vigilante groups just wandering around our county, intimidating people with guns,” Lea said. “Nor can we have our police officers in a role that they shouldn’t be in joining this group.
Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler defended his deputies decision not to make any arrests that night posse showed up on the Shepherds’ from porch, the Star News reported.
“We took a little more time to make sure we made an informed decision,” Sheriff Cutler said.
Deputy Kita, who worked at the New Hanover County Detention Center, was fired after the incident in Pender County.
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said former Deputy Kita had gone to Shepherd’s home “while armed and in uniform in a county where he was not dully sworn in and in furtherance of personal — not law enforcement — purposes,” FOX News reported.
The former deputy has been charged with trespassing and breaking and entering.
Another man who part of the vigilante group was charged with “going armed to the terror of the public,” FOX News reported.
No court date has yet been set for either man, the Star News reported.