3 off-duty officers accused of firing shots within Pittsboro city limits, police say

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Three off-duty law enforcement officers are under investigation after being accused of firing shots within Pittsboro city limits earlier in April.

Just after 10 p.m. on April 11, Pittsboro officers and Chatham County deputies were called to the area of West Sailsbury Street in reference to shots being fired. Callers told dispatch they heard two shots fired.

On arrival, officers found three off-duty law enforcement officers -- two were identified as off-duty Chatham County deputies and the other as a Siler City police sergeant. None of the three off-duty officers were identified in a news release.

Pittsboro officials said all three had been drinking alcohol and initially refused to answer questions from responding officers.

Investigators said they believe at least one of the three officers was responsible for the shots fired after multiple personally-owned guns were found at the scene.

Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson immediately suspended the two deputies as part of an internal investigation. Three days later, the sheriff's office dismissed both deputies citing "dishonesty and multiple policy violations." The employment status of the Siler City officer has not been made public.

Roberson spoke with the District Attorney during the week of April 19 to potentially pursue criminal charges against the former employees. According to the Pittsboro Police Department, multiple criminal charges are forthcoming.

"We've been conducting interviews, reviewing surveillance footage, and gathering as many details as possible," Pittsboro Police Chief Johnson wrote in a statement. "I contacted the District Attorney on April 19th regarding potential criminal charges. We are treating this case just like any other investigation. Just because someone carries a badge doesn't mean they're above the law."

Overall, the Pittsboro Police Department is subject to carrying out the criminal investigation while the Sheriff's Office and Siler City Police Department are responsible for conducting their own internal investigations.

"We may never have all of the answers, but we can take this as an opportunity to pause and reflect on what we can do differently going forward. These young men had seemingly bright, long careers ahead of them, but it can be a struggle to meet the high demands and expectations associated with this job," Roberson said. "As law enforcement, we are trained that firearms and alcohol do not mix. However, we must do more as a profession to help officers cope with negative thoughts or emotions in positive, constructive ways."

As of Friday, the Siler Police Department has not released a comment on the incident.
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