FBI helping in search for suspect in shooting of NC deputy, considered ‘armed and extremely dangerous’

North Carolina

LA GRANGE, N.C. (WNCN) – The FBI and the SBI have joined in the search for a man wanted in connection with shooting deputy in North Carolina, the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office said.

K-9 Officer Steven Key, 30, was shot while initially responding to a domestic call on Lang Skinner Road in La Grange, which is just west of Kinston, according to the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office.

An undated photo of Robert Lee Strother (Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff’s office said when the deputy talked to the suspect, the suspect “turned around with an assault-type rifle and fired shots at the deputy, hitting him in the neck area.”

The suspect has been identified as Robert Lee Strother, 30, the sheriff’s office said.

Around 8:45 a.m. Friday, the sheriff’s office said Strother shot a Lenoir County resident multiple times and stole the victim’s red 2003 Dodge Dakota extended cab pickup truck.

Around 11:15 a.m. Friday, deputies found the red pickup truck but no signs of Strother.

The sheriff’s office said a State Highway Patrol helicopter, drones, the FBI and the SBI are currently being used to help locate Strother.

The condition of the resident that was shot is unknown at this time, the sheriff’s office said.

“(Strother) is armed and extremely dangerous,” Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram said. “Do not approach him or the truck if you see either. Call 911 immediately if you see him or the truck.”

During the initial investigation, law enforcement officers searched the house and outbuilding on Lang Skinner Road for Strother. That’s when deputies determined Strother was not inside either building.

A man and a woman were found in the outbuilding and arrested on unrelated charges, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said Strother has four felony warrants against him from Thursday’s shooting, including attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflict serious injury, discharging a weapon in an occupied dwelling and possession of firearm by a felon.

Officials said there are additional charges that will be brought against Strother.

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