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


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.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Dead on!

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!


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.....


they tried to run over the

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!!

Close enough?

42 / Bladen Cty. Spent time in Robeson Country Club

10 years younger than the news reports, but right first, middle, last name, and county.

Great job!!!

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


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.

New lightbars

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.

You dame right I went

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


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

Story is unclear....

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

DWI Checkpoints Work!!!

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'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?

Well since you asked

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.

Other way to look at it

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

do you like child restraint

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.

Perceived safety?

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.

Personal Freedom? On the Roadway?

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

Hey, Wilmington Observer, I

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?


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.

Get the information right

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!!


I know that's right

I didn't say the Wilmington

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!

But, you said Leland police

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.

"But, you said Leland

"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!