Woman sues Orange County sheriff, deputies in shooting death of husband in 2017

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

An Efland woman is suing the Orange County sheriff and several deputies in the shooting death of her husband in 2017.

Amy Crockett believes authorities violated her Keo Crockett's civil and constitutional rights when they shot her husband on Feb. 18, 2017.

Initial reports stated that Keo broke into a home and assaulted two people before returning home and later firing at deputies.

Neighbor says he saw Orange Co. deputies shoot suspect

The deputies were later cleared by the District Attorney, who ruled that their use of force was justified.

What happened that night

According to warrants, Keo had visited the home of a woman he'd been seeing in Mebane after she told him their relationship had to stop because she reconciled with her boyfriend.

Officials said Keo entered through an unlocked door, confronted the couple and became involved in a physical altercation.

Deputies were called and went to look for Keo back at his home in Efland.

Amy said she and her husband heard what they thought was an intruder, so Keo grabbed a firearm and headed to the source of the noise.

Upon opening the door, she said he was shot "instantaneously" - four shots allegedly fired by deputy Duke Ashely from an AR-15.

Amy said she then ran into the bedroom to call 911 before being forced to the ground, handcuffed and dragged out of her home.

She suffered an injury to her right leg, adding that a cut she sustained during the incident became infected.

Amy claims that the mental and emotional impact of the event caused her to be out of work since; she's since been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, and Agoraphobia.

The deputies' actions

Warrants state prior to the shooting, deputies Ashely and Tyler Chelenza formed a plan to detain Keo at his residence.

Upon arrival, they did not drive any sheriff's department vehicle or other law enforcement vehicle into Keo's driveway or yard or active any blue lights.

Amy claims the deputies unplugged the lights on the side of the house, causing the porch to be completely dark.

She states they never announced their presence or issued any commands.

Both deputies fired. Chelenza fired his handgun but did not strike Crockett. Ashley, using an Orange County issued AR-15 rifle with a flashlight mounted on the barrel, hit Crockett four times in the abdomen.

Claims for the lawsuit

Amy is suing Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood for the actions of his deputies.

She claims Blackwood's policies, practices, and customs were a "direct and proximate cause of the unconstitutional violations of Mr. Crockett's civil and constitutional rights."

Those items include:

  • Failing to properly supervise, discipline and control deputies

  • Failing to properly train detectives and offices in police protocols related to rights of citizens, including investigative and criminal procedure

  • Establishing and promoting a culture of reckless, lawless, and overzealous police conduct with regards to, among other things, the execution of searches, seizures, investigations, and arrests

Deputies cleared by DA

District Attorney James Woodall ruled that deputies Ashley and Chelenza were justified in their use of deadly force.

"After a comprehensive review of the applicable law, evidence, and circumstances surrounding the use of deadly force, it is my conclusion that both Deputy Ashley (who fired all the shots that struck and killed Mr. Crockett) and Deputy Chelenza acted lawfully on February 18, 2017," Woodall wrote. "OCSO deputies are not issued body worn cameras and no video or audio recordings of the incident are known to exist."