DA Reilly Clears US Marshals in Deadly Standoff

The United States Marshals involved in the fatal shooting of a man following a standoff in Hudson have been deemed justified in their use of deadly force.

Based on a review of the findings from an investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation along with interviews and body camera footage of those officers involved, District Attorney Scott Reilly determined that the marshals were justified in their use of deadly force, and there was no evidence of criminal misconduct in their actions regarding the death of 28-year-old Kentrey Marquis Witherspoon in December 2019.

“The evidence presented to me by the SBI was completed in an exhaustive, fair and impartial manner,” Reilly said. “I’m confident that my evaluation of the actions of all parties is based on a fair and impartial investigation. Further, I believe that the intent of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office (SWAT Team) was to peacefully apprehend Mr. Witherspoon and without loss of life. I conclude that their actions were justified because of the actions, behavior and refusal to follow lawful commands on the part of Mr. Witherspoon.”

Witherspoon was shot and killed on December 19, 2019, when he refused to negotiate his surrender after he fired on officers from Hudson Police Department and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office following a traffic stop.

Witherspoon jumped from his vehicle and fired shots at officers who pursued him by foot.  At least two rounds struck a Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle occupied by a deputy.

He barricaded himself inside a local furniture plant that led to the evacuation of workers, blocking of streets and the implementation of lockdown procedures for local schools in the area. He fired again at officers who tried to enter the building. Even when members of the Caldwell County SWAT Team made entry to the building to negotiate, Witherspoon refused to surrender, keeping his weapon raised toward himself or officers. He was told multiple times to lower the weapon before making a sudden hand and arm movement that prompted marshals to fire.

Witherspoon was a convicted felon who had served time in prison and also had outstanding arrest warrants for kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

CONTACT: Nathan Key
Phone: 828-695-6193
Email: Nathan.D.Key@nccourts.org