UPDATE: 7 deputies on leave, 2 injured after shooting at checkpoint

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Submitted: Sun, 06/16/2013 - 3:59am
Updated: Mon, 06/17/2013 - 10:10pm

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A shooting around midnight Friday at a DWI checkpoint along Highway 17 in Leland involved seven deputies and two suspects who were taken to the hospital.

Late this afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office reported that Antoine Levar Graham, 25, of Mimosa Trail, in Leland, is charged with 10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, 10 counts of AWDW on a government official, one count of fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle, one count of felony conspiracy, one count of possessing marijuana up to 1/2 oz and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Jerry Onasis Melvin,42, of Isabelle Trail in Leland, is charged with eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, eight counts of AWDW on a government official and one count of felony conspiracy (for speeding to elude).

Both are in fair condition according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The deputies involved are Cpl. Brian Medlin, Dep. Joe Cherry, Dep. John Rogers and Dep. Larry Branch from Brunswick County, as well as Sgt. M. Fike, Dep. J. Maroldt and Dep. J. Spivey from New Hanover County. The Brunswick County Deputies have been placed on administrative duty while New Hanover County Deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Both the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s office are conducting internal investigations. The State Bureau of Investigation has also been called in to investigate, and the State Highway Patrol has filed charges against the suspects.

Brunswick County has asked the SBI to take the lead on the investigation because it was a shooting that involved multiple agencies. As of Saturday evening, the SBI has not released any information about what caused it.

Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David said he joined Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram in requesting the SBI handle the case. David said one of his assistants was at the checkpoint and was a witness to what happened. As a result, David said he’s not sure how his office may be involved in the case. He said he plans to contact the Attorney General’s Office to help figure out if the DA’s office has a conflict of interest in the case.

Melvin is being held at the Brunswick County Detention Facility under a $250,000 secured bond.

Stay with WWAY NewsChannel 3 for more details as they become available.


  • Guest45 says:

    I for one think these roadblock, search and seizure places are wrong, but since this country is headed or arrived at a police state so be it, got nothing to hide, I wonder how 7 deputies firing at 2 people at close range kept from killing them both??????????????? did any innocent civilians get hit?

  • irish1 says:

    When the Supreme Court ruled that check points were constitutional they also set-up rules about them. Now I believe that this in its self was in fact, un-constitutional, much like Rowe vs. Wade in that the court at this point created legislation which it doesn’t have the power to do. If you remember the check point decision went thru at the same time the second flag burning decision (for the second time within a year ???) and that got all the media attention… But the thing is this, usually with a good lawyer, it is found that these check-points are not run by the standards set by the court, and the offender that has the resources to hire good legal representation will get the case dismissed. But here is what gets me. When this happens, why are not all the cases involved with this check point dismissed? Is it because of the revenue these cases bring the state is this another example of how our judicial system treats the poor?

  • Mara says:

    DWI checkpoints are illegal..just search YouTube and watch how people don’t have to answer any questions unless you are being detained…stop wasteing our tax dollars in these illegal checkpoints!

  • Rlcrews says:

    I wish either county would spend more money on firearm training. In reading the article what happened to two controlled rounds center mass? Go back to school kids and learn to shoot

  • Brian says:

    I know some people mess up and have a couple of drinks and drive, I went through one of those back road check points, got charged. The officer lied in court made me out to have been wasted, even said I gave him a college ID I don’t own a college ID…he was involved in this shooting in Leland, not sure what happened, but he is quite a little smarta*s. Bad part is when you have your day in court there isnt much you can do, your screwed as soon as you walk in the door.

  • Guest123123 says:

    I just saw the interview with the family who witnessed this incident and once again we are back to dealing with cops that do not have a clue. The father in the interview seemed to have a good grasp of the situation and spoke very clearly and appears to have no ax to grind. Everyone of those deputies needs to be FIRED if they discharged their weapons in the direction of the other people in line at the checkpoint. There is protocol for live fire situations that involve other officers and innocent bystanders. If you do not care of the safety of the citizens I can understand that because of who you are, but to put your “brothers” in danger is sort of surprising. looks like some extra training is needed.

  • your law suit is comeing says:

    so i guess brian when you stuck a taser to my neck an pulled me out of a car was legal training being you are apart of aggresive task force did they show you that so in hence i am gonna ask in court for resignation

  • PublicAvenger says:

    It sure was ugly. Those deputies firing into the car. Perhaps it would have looked much nicer looking, if they would have just allowed themselves to be run over, and crushed to death, by these two criminal thugs. For some stupid reason, I guess, they wanted to go home, to their wives and children.

    I know its horrible for me to even mention this. How unfair, and insensitive. After all, they were just doing what comes natural. But, wouldn’t it have been nice if those two thugs, wouldn’t have had drugs, and didn’t try to run over the deputies. If they would’ve just obeyed the law, for the first time in their lives.

  • Guest123123 says:

    Thank you usmc!! I have always said you should have to take a written exam to post on matters of this nature. Those who have no training in these matters are clueless. I wonder if they also firedon the car when it was fleeing which once again you are not supposed ti do

  • Guest123123 says:

    I have no sympathy for the two drug dealers but there is protocol to be used for a vehicle that is fleeing the scene of a crime.I was always trained to never to shoot at a vehicle that is leaving the scene. What if there was a child in the back or third row seat. That is why you can not shoot in that situation. If the officers can show thru an investigation that their life was in danger they will probably be cleared.

  • realcitizen says:

    yes because everything you see on the internet is real and factual. Great research, you should be a lawyer ( I can send you some links if you like for a jd aka juris doctrine in case google is down)… idiot

  • Vog46 says:

    Please advise how these guys became drug dealers. From what I saw on the offender search there are no priors on either one. They also had less than half ounce of weed on them.
    They were NOT charged with possession with intent to sell. Do NOT make these guys out to “drug dealers” when they may not be that at all.
    Another point to consider – they tossed the gun prior to getting to the checkpoint, according to another media outlet so they may have been un-armed except for the car itself (which to me (and the law) is a weapon when the intention is to kill or harm).
    In a world full of surveillance camera’s, dashcams, and SABLE helicopters, AND with Sheriffs from both NH County and Brunswick County AND with reps from the DA’s office present I doubt that any officers acted improperly given the number of witnesses (not counting those people in line at the checkpoint).
    The thing that upsets me most is the fact that these guys are still alive given the number of officers who may have been shooting at them.


  • John Jones says:

    The Supreme Court actually found that DUI check points infringe on 4th amendment rights. Now the big but is they also declare the MINOR INFRINGEMENT on the 4th amendment to be acceptable in the interest of catching drunk drivers. Now if something infringes on a constitutional right that would make it Un-Constitutional.

  • John Jones says:

    Now the Supreme Court stated in their ruling that DUI check points do infringe on the 4th amendment but decided it was an acceptable infringement in the interest of removing drunk drivers from the roads. Now if it infringes on the constitution it is in fact unconstitutional even if they choose to allow it. So now who is the idiot? Get some education and manners.

  • Guest123123 says:

    Sorry you have to use NC offender search for your info. I have other resources available. But you are right they have no CONVICTIONS for drug offenses.

  • Devin says:

    So what you’re saying is that these officers should have somehow managed to run around and get an angle at which they can safely discharge their weapons without putting anyone else at danger? It was a DUI checkpoint, shooting arent supposed to happen there. It’s a high traffic area with a lot of possibility for injuries, but why should these officers sit back and possibly have themselves killed at the chance a stray bullet may hit someone else. It’s a win lose. You can’t critique these men if you haven’t been in the same situation.

  • GuestUSMC says:

    As a former LEO myself, your comment is about the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Every time an officer puts on his uniform, he knows he might not live to take it off. Part of the job is to put your life on the line to protect others, and it also includes not firing a weapon if innocent people are in the line of fire, regardless of your own sefety. Somewhat like soldiers who have fallen on live grenades to save their buddies.

  • 180 GRAIN says:

    180 Grain, ever how many times, is better than them sitting in the jail or prison wasting tax payers dollars. GREAT JOB TO THE POLICE FOR TAKING THESE ANIMALS OFF THE STREET.

    Act like a B*tch get Treated like a B*tch!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest557 says:

    This was a needed break for NHSO Vice unit. Finally somebody else in the spotlight!

  • jj says:

    I have one question and I bet what you post will be a lie. What did you blow?

  • Guest32 says:

    Just know that this is not the first time these sorry ass police have shot up a person like this. A couple of years ago they shot up a mans house in maco and shot him several times. Guess what they did not get away with it and WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH THIS ONE!!!! They just a bunch of trigger happy police. Well Brunswick county get ready to find a new batch of trigger happy target shooters!!!!!

  • Wilmington Observer says:

    If you want to maintain your personal freedom, stay home and off of the roadway. You do not have the same “rights” on the, public, roadway that you do within your home. Driving on the, public, roadways is a privilege that you are granted (by meeting certain qualifications such as proper training / drivers’ education, liability insurance, etc) by the issuance of a Driver License. When you accept the Driver License you are, also, agreeing to accept certain responsibilities and liabilitees as well as giving up some level of your expected privacy. You are not required to give up your privacy, you can keep it, but not if you want to utilize the, public roadways. I, for one, am fine with that. A good example of why I feel that way can be found by reading this, well written, article.

    Thanks, to the officers, for putting yourself in harm’s way so that I can be a little more safe. I’m glad none of you were, seriously, injured.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Mac says:

    I’m sure if we could ask someone who was killed by a intoxicated driver they would not think these check points sacrifice our percieved safety. Once you get behind the wheel of a car unfit to drive the personal freedom of everyone in your path is at risk.

  • deputy 25 says:

    do you like child restraint seats? do you think seat belt saves lives? what would you think it would be like if no law enforcement were out there intruding on the roadways to get drugs and drunk drivers off the street? a lil bit of intrusion on these points will not hinder your daily activities to keep you and your passengers safe on the road as well as others who believe these few traffic details will not hinder much.

  • GuestO'Day says:

    Hey, Wilmington Observer, I really don’t feel motivated to look this up; but in a recent thread you were chiding WWAY and a reporter for grammatical and spelling errors. Pot, Kettle, Black…. what, pray tell is a “liabilitee”??? Oh and further, to correct your insipid grammar you should have said “Thank you, officers and deputies for putting yourselves in harm’s way…”

    By the way, didn’t you host a blog in this community at one time?

  • Katie says:

    I’m absolutely willing to sacrifice 1 minute of my time to go through a checkpoint that may catch drunk drivers or other criminals. If you’re not doing anything wrong then there shouldn’t be a problem with going through a checkpoint every once in awhile.

    Good job LEO! I’m glad that none of you were hurt and am very grateful that you guys are working hard to catch the scum in Brunswick County.

  • Guest340 says:

    Quite the comment, considering we don’t even know the circumstances surrounding this event.

  • Guest111 says:

    I thank God none of these officers were hurt. I am terribly sorry the two men had to be taken to the hospital. The funeral home is much more appropriate.

  • Guest123123 says:

    Checkpoints are what they are and the good outweighs the bad. Since we do not know the specifics of the shooting I do not want to assume what happened. These guys,by the drug charges issued,do not seem to be big time guys moving heavy weight from NJ and are just local small time types. The shootout could have been deadly for the other motorists in the checkpoint. It is always good to take down drug dealers in a controlled environment at 5am when they least expect it. Im sure these guys were already known to vice in Brunswick Co and might even had active cases against them. So they probably would have been rounded up a few months from now in another operation by the department. So potential innocent lives could have been lost in the shootout at the checkpoint.

  • Guest Reply says:

    And some people complain about increasing the DWI checkpoint activity around here…and/or checkpoints in general.
    Well…looks like this checkpoint stopped 2 potientials in the cold. Amazing whom they can and will find out there behind the wheel of a vehicle.
    Good work Leland Police. I hope the Chief of Police in Wilmington uses this as a stepping stone example…especially after the hit and run event of a couple of nights ago with the bicyclist Zachary Tyler.
    You know…it’s not so much the idea of whom they can find illegally on the roads with checkpoints…but the idea that would run through individuals minds “before driving” if in the backs of their minds…there’s a 50-50 chance of coming up to a checkpoint and getting nailed if they are on the road in a dangerous method.
    The way I see this arrest in Leland is…potiential innocent lives may have been saved stopping these 2 people. What other way could you look at it?

  • Guest34897 says:

    Though vague, the agencies involved were the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, not the Leland Police Department and Wilmington Police Department. Not even sure if LPD and WPD were there, though, you would think, they should have been invited. Hoping that the suspects are just that and the deputies are cleared!!

  • Curious resident says:

    How much personal freedom from government are you willing to sacrifice for percieved safety?

  • Guest777 says:

    No one can take comments seriously that compare Deputies looking for drunk drivers to Nazi Germany. This is a land of laws accepted by it’s citizens. The law, and the Supreme Court, has held for generations that DWI and driver’s license check points are 100% legal. Go speak with someone who survived Nazi’s and ask them for their opinion on the matter.

  • guest5555 says:

    I guess there is one nut in every crowd!

  • Guest1983 says:

    you are a complete idiot..

  • Freedom lover says:

    It is great to see these checkpoints make a come back. They were wildly successful in Nazi germany (and occipied countries)in the 1930’s and early 1940’s, so I good see them back.

  • sick and tired says:

    You must be one of drunks or drug runners in the area. Otherwise you would know the stations are legal and necessary to protect the law abiding public.

  • Guest98345 says:

    The officers involved were from NH sheriffs department, and Brunswick sheriffs department. I truly believe the outcome would have been much different, and not in a good way if Leland were involved in any significant way. I live in Leland, and recent non-publicized events I am aware of show that with few exceptions, this agency remains poorly trained and unmotivated.

    All they are really capable of is writing speeding tickets, and handling reports from Wal-Mart security after they have done the legwork.

  • Guest Reply says:

    “But, you said Leland police” (Unquote)
    Whom (pray tell) gives a rats buttocks? While you are at it…look up the officers names/ages/and golf handicap!
    At least (whomever they were) had a Checkpoint set up!

  • Guest Reply says:

    I didn’t say the Wilmington Police were involved…just that I hoped the Chief of Police in Wilmington uses this Checkpoint as an example (i.e.) to nail individuals breaking the law before they possibly hurt innocent people.
    Whether they be Police or Deputy Sheriffs…they are the Police to me…and this took place in Leland…and…>>>>>>>>>
    They got caught!

  • danahines says:

    I know that’s right

  • Word to the Wise says:

    Your post is dead on as it is standard procedure to place the deputies on PAID administrative leave and for the SBI to investigate. Many of the deputies are probably contacting the PBA…they won’t speak until the investigation is complete.

    Thank God the deputies were not hurt because 2 drug-dealing thugs wanted to act stupid.

    They can be drug dealers and not have any other charges. There are a lot of steps Narcotics agents have to take to be able to bust drug dealers and it’s a lengthy process. While any amount of drugs is illegal, if it was only 1/2 ounce, why did they do what they did? That in itself tells you there was more to the story than just a 1/2 ounce of marijuana. Who would use assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and flee to allude arrest over such a simple charge. There was far more to the story!

    As you said, it is unfortunate it will cost tax payers money to pay for their medical bills and to house them in jail for years to come but at least they are off the street.

    By the way, for those questioning innocent bystanders, do you not think the news would have been more concerned with reporting if a bystander was injured or even in jeapordy of being injured during this? They would be much more concern than the 2 thugs. And sure, LEO’s put on their uniform knowing they are placed in very dangerous situations in their line of duty and may not make it home one day but I can tell you what you can bet your bottom dollar if it comes between one of them making it home to their families (especially at wages of $15-$19/hr–it’s obviously in their heart to serve!) or sending their threat to the hospital or grave, they will pick the latter. Who wouldn’t?

    Great job law enforcement!

  • PublicAvenger says:

    Great job BCSD deputies. You know our great sheriff will stand behind you.

    Good News: Thank God, violent, drug dealing, criminal thugs, didn’t hurt any of our deputies.

    Bad News: These two dregs will probably cost the taxpayers $25,000 in medical bills. They will get slaps on the wrist, by the courts. Then be right back out, terrorizing, and sponging off the taxpayers.

    I understand it’s normal police procedure to put a officer on Administrative Leave (Suspension), immediately after a traumatic event. It’s also standard to let the SBI investigate. It takes several days. Usually the order is “not to talk” until the investigation is over.

  • Vog46 says:

    Unless I did something wrong neither one shows a previous record in the public offender search and half ounce of weed does not “qualify” them as dealers.
    There’s way too many questions that aren’t answered here…..


  • Are you kidding me??? says:

    they tried to run over the officers. That is a deadly weapon. Are people stupid??? If someone was trying to run me over and I had a gun, I would shoot them too! Obviously there were things these thugs were trying to hide or they wouldnt have tried to run over the officers! Ugh!! And you people vote???? This country has no hope!!

  • SWRbass5 says:

    I’m a musician in the area, so I’m on the road late quite a bit on the weekends. These large checkpoints are usually pretty organized, but what bothers me, is some of these 2-car checkpoints that BC keeps setting up on rural roads. If you’ve ever come up on one after dark, you know how hard it is to see what’s going on with their new type blue lights. (are they LED, or HID?) These lights are so blinding, that you never see the officer standing on the yellow line-even wearing an orange vest. If they use two cars – one on each side of the road – then it’s pretty obvious theres someone in the middle of the street. But one night, coming home from Wilm down 133, I came up on what I thought wss a vehicle pulled over for a traffic stop (on the right), so I slowed down and moved over to the left. Suddenly, when I cleared the blue light glare, there was a cop in the middle of the road. – It was a roadblock, with 2 cop cars on one side of the road! Almost slammed into him!
    And of course, if you say something about it to the officer, they act like you’re being smart-a** with em, and try to make it worse on you than they have to.

  • Guestwho says:

    You are absolutely right. I had the exact same experience on Middle Sound Loop Road a couple months ago.

  • Dana Hines says:

    You dame right I went through the roadblock and everything you said is the truth.

  • Guest9834 says:

    The new lightbars on the police vehicles are LED. One of the requirements for SAE certification for ALL high intensity lightbars – strobe or LED – is that they be capable of being dimmed at night. Either that capability is not being connected when they are installed on the local LE agency’s vehicles, or there’s some manual operation that needs to be done to dim them that isn’t happening. You will notice that the State Trooper vehicles are very bright at night, but not completely binding. That’s how it should be, and that means that the lightbars on SHP vehicles are being installed correctly.

    You are right. They cop (no pun intended) an attitude when you try to tell them that you cannot see them until you are right on top of the. The law says slow down / move left (both is better) when approaching an emergency vehicle with light flashing. How’s that work when you move left, and the cop that will be looking at your license is standing on the center line, and you cannot see him or her – no matter how slow you are going?

    The answer is, not so well. The problem is being recognized, and is resulting in LEOs, and fire personnel being injured and killed. This is all for the lack of connecting ONE WIRE to a point in the vehicle that indicates it’s dark out – like the headlights – to put the lighting in lower power mode. This capability is in every current lightbar. The locals use a mix of Whelen, star headlight, and federal signal lightbars. All of them are capable of being dimmed at night.

    Here’s a few examples of the results of this negligence of the installers. I hope if something bad happens as a result of this, the officer or their spouse determines who installed the lighting on the vehicle in question, and sues the installer for everything they and their insurance company owns. That WILL get the problem fixed, at least locally. This might be an interesting story for wway to look into.





  • Guestk says:

    This story is uncleaar…what really happened here???? Hard to tell by the news story.

  • Guest334 says:

    It’s awesome when agencies work together!! I just wish both would’ve not been able to stand trial!!

  • Guest111 says:

    By the way. . why are the circumstances of the event deemed our “right to know” at this point? I pretty much have it figured out, don’t you??

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