RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — A man accused of shooting and killing a Wake County deputy is in custody amid an investigation involving multiple counties, including Forsyth County.
K-9 Deputy Ned Byrd, 48, of Raleigh, was shot near Battle Bridge and Auburn Knightdale roads in Raleigh just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 11, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said.
Arturo Marin-Sotelo, 29, of Apex, was arrested and charged with felony murder, according to court documents served on Thursday. He was booked into the Wake County jail just after 8:30 a.m. and appeared in Wake County court later in the day.
“It gives this office great pleasure on this morning to be able to share that one of the suspects that we believe is involved in the death of deputy Ned Byrd has been charged with murder,” Baker said during a Thursday news conference. “It’s been round-the-clock work by this agency.”
Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo has also been charged with murder and is in federal custody but has not yet been served.
As deputies continue to investigate, Baker said that there are “things occurring in Forsyth County” but won’t elaborate to avoid jeopardizing or hindering the investigation.
“We are always grateful and willing to provide assistance,” Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said in a statement. “Because it is an ongoing investigation, we can’t disclose the particulars, but we were honored to have the opportunity to assist. As always, we are better, stronger, and safer together.”
Wake County records say that Wake County deputies took Marin-Sotelo into custody at the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office in Graham on Thursday morning.
ACSO reports that the suspect was an ICE detainee in the Alamance County Detention Center. ACSO says the only role they had in the investigation was housing the suspect who arrived late Tuesday night. It’s unclear where he was before arriving at ACSO.
Baker acknowledged the assistance provided by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and the State Highway Patrol along with the State Bureau of Investigation throughout their efforts to “bring the individuals responsible to justice.”
Byrd was shot and killed on Battle Bridge Road, but the sheriff’s office hasn’t been able to explain why he was there, according to sheriff’s office spokesperson Eric Curry.
Earlier that night, Byrd had responded to a domestic call less than a mile away, according to the sheriff’s office. After, he entered his notes into the system.
The Associated Press reports that it appears something caught his attention along the road. His vehicle was positioned in a way that suggested he may have been trying to illuminate something. The sheriff said Byrd arrived at the location at 11:05 p.m. Byrd never reported the stop over radio.
“The dog was still inside the vehicle which tells us that what he got out on didn’t appear to be any sort of threat or require any sort of need for his partner,” Baker said.
Others with the sheriff’s office tried to contact Byrd several times but he wasn’t responding. Finally, another deputy found Byrd at 1:06 a.m. outside of his vehicle with his K-9, Sasha, still inside.
Deputy Byrd was wearing his protective gear and was shot more than once, Baker said.
The suspect vehicle found
The sheriff’s office revealed that a suspect vehicle was found after the WCSO shared photos of a white pick-up truck earlier this week.
Pictures show the truck that investigators said is believed to be involved in the killing of Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd. It was described as a single-cab pickup truck similar to a Chevrolet Colorado or a GMC Canyon.
Searching the river
Dive teams searched the Neuse River and crews searched the shoreline off Auburn Knightdale Road, about half a mile from the scene where Byrd was killed.
Dive teams and deputies spent most of Tuesday searching the Neuse River and the land around it.
A Wake County Sheriff’s Office representative told CBS 17 the search was regarding an ongoing investigation and would not add additional detail.
Teams from Durham County Search and Recovery, the Knightdale Fire Department, Youngsville Search and Rescue and Eastern Wake Fire and Rescue crews searched inch by inch of the river bottom.
They would not tell CBS 17 crews what they were looking for, but said they were assisting the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.
CBS 17 crews observed a dive team present a gun they had found to a Wake County deputy. The gun was covered in mud and debris. The deputy was seen getting an empty evidence bag from his vehicle, and it appeared they were going to analyze the gun they had found.
When the dive and fire teams left, additional Wake County Sheriff vehicles came on scene, to expand the search to the area around the river.
Deputies were spotted walking around the wooded area and field near the river.
Questions about a Burke County connection
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office issued a clarification Tuesday afternoon regarding recent arrests made in Burke County.
On Tuesday, authorities said rumors surfaced of arrests in Burke County connected to the murder of Deputy Byrd.
“These individuals have been arrested on federal detainers unrelated to the Byrd homicide. There was no chase as has been previously reported,” Wake County Chief Legal Advisor Rick Brown said on Tuesday. “The investigation is at a sensitive point. Rumors and false information by the media to get the story out first hampers this investigation.”
“Similarly, there has been false information disseminated regarding the theft of property from Deputy Byrd’s residence. Certain property was temporarily removed from the residence because of a civil dispute. And has since been recovered. This office is taking appropriate action as a result,” the WCSO said.
Who was Deputy Byrd?
The 48-year-old K-9 officer had been with the office for 13 years.
Byrd joined the sheriff’s office as a detention officer in 2009 and was sworn in as a deputy in 2018, according to the sheriff’s office.
Baker said Byrd had been a “very dedicated and committed man” who spent 13 years in service to Wake County, first as a detention officer before becoming a deputy.
Former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison has weighed in on the tragic loss of Byrd, who he served alongside.
“He was a detention officer for me, his goal was to be a deputy,” Harrison told CBS 17. “I allowed my detention officers, if they qualified to go out for the deputy position. He tried a couple times and finally made it. He was one happy person and I was one happy person for him. That’s what makes it so hard.”
Byrd’s former roommate, Jesse Iversen, described him as a “protector by nature.” Iversen is a Cary firefighter who lived with Byrd for years, but the two also shared a bond of being first responders. They often saw each other when responding to calls, even when they were no longer roommates.
“The person or persons responsible took somebody very special away from us,” Iversen said.
“We’d catch up when the scene calmed down a bit, we’d always just pick up right where we left off,” Iversen said.
He says Deputy Byrd was dedicated to his K-9. Friends remember Byrd always helping others and making every single day count.
“He loved life, loved life and he absolutely lived it to the fullest,” Iversen said. “If he loved you, you came first, and I miss him.”
The funeral will take place Friday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. at Providence Baptist Church at 6339 Glenwood Ave.