Suspect in killing of 2 at N.C. home that died in shootout has ties to our area

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A suspect in a weekend shooting who killed two people and injured another at a North Carolina home died in a shootout with deputies hours afterward outside another house, a sheriff said Sunday.

In a social media post, Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell said that Justin Michael Strawser, who grew up in Chautauqua County, was wearing a bulletproof vest and firing at deputies when he was killed in the shootout Saturday outside a home in Mooresville. The deputies and four minor children inside the home with Strawser weren’t hurt, he added.

Deputies had responded to a call about shots fired at a different Mooresville home, where they discovered two dead people inside the house and someone critically injured on the back porch. All three were found restrained and bound, and the third was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, the sheriff said.

The sheriff’s office said Strawser and the three who were shot knew each other, so it wasn’t a random home invasion. Narcotics and robbery are possible motives, the office added.

Information about Strawser led deputies to approach the second home, where Strawser barricaded himself inside and began firing at them with the AR-15, the sheriff said.

With the house surrounded, sheriff’s office negotiators tried to get Strawser to come out, according to Campbell. They also learned the four juveniles were inside, but the minors were uncooperative and refused rescue attempts, he added.

Authorities said some of the bullets fired by Strawser hit sheriff’s office vehicles. Strawser also told negotiators about his involvement in the deadly incident at the other house, according to the sheriff.

Deputies then used tear gas, spurring the children to flee the house and Strawser exited after them, wearing the bulletproof vest and firing at the deputies, according to the sheriff.

Deputies then shot back, killing Strawser. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. Three deputies were placed on administrative leave under the sheriff’s office’s standard policy.

The people killed at the first house were identified as two men, ages 22 and 24.


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