Drone utilized to apprehend Turkey man

By Chris Berendt - [email protected]
Smith -

A suspect trying to flee from the scene of a shooting in Turkey was apprehended when Sampson County Sheriff’s authorities deployed new technology in their search, utilizing a drone from the air and a K-9 unit on the ground.

Alan Smith, 35, of 1080 Thompson Ave., Turkey, was ultimately charged with discharging weapon into an occupied dwelling, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, possession of firearm by felon and possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

He was placed under $250,000 secured bond for the offenses and given a court date is set for this Friday, Aug. 10.

It was around 10:30 p.m. Friday that officers responded to a shooting victim on Thompson Avenue, Turkey, finding a male gunshot victim when they arrived. It was learned that the victim, identified as Warren Russell, 24, had been involved in an altercation at another residence on Thompson Avenue that resulted in the suspect, Smith, allegedly shooting Russell with a rifle. The victim then fled the location on foot to a neighbor’s house and asked them to call 911.

“Officers were able to identify the suspect involved in the shooting and knew the suspect was still in the area, armed and at large,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith. “Through the aid of a drone equipped with FLIR (forward-looking infrared) and a K9, officers were able to locate the suspect in a wooded area close by and take him into custody without incident.”

FLIR cameras, typically used on military and civilian aircraft, use a thermographic camera that senses infrared radiation. The sensors installed in forward-looking infrared cameras, as well as those of other thermal imaging cameras, use detection of infrared radiation, typically emitted from a heat source.

Russell was transported to the emergency room at Sampson Regional Medical Center to be treated. The extent of his injuries was not immediately clear, though they were not believed to be life-threatening. Authorities listed Russell as being of the same Thompson Avenue address as Smith.

According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Smith has convictions in Sampson and Duplin counties dating back to 2003, including for habitual impaired driving, assault on a female, resisting officer, fictitious information to law enforcement officer, drug possession, unauthorized use of motor conveyance, injury to property and common law forgery.

Shooting suspect put behind bars

By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.

Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.