Injured suspect and deputy identified in Nash County shooting

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Thursday, May 23, 2024
Injured suspect and deputy identified in Nash County shooting
An armed suspect was shot in Nash County by a deputy on Thursday morning.

NASH COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Nash County deputy shot a man believed to have been wanted in connection to a home invasion.

It happened Thursday morning in the area of Alternate 64 and Big Woods Road.

Nash County Sheriff's Office said deputy Miguel Salazar shot Juan Salazar. The two are not related.

Miguel was not injured but has been placed on administrative leave due to standard protocol. Juan was rushed to WakeMed in critical condition.

Michelle Van Der Meulen was at work when her husband alerted her that someone was inside their home.

"He said he thought it could have been our son, which we were not expecting him and he didn't get any answers," Van Der Meulen said. "He got up to come to the kitchen, and by that time the guy was already standing in the kitchen door."

Van Der Meulen said the man grabbed things, including a pizza cutter, while her husband ran to the bedroom to call 911.

"He came back out and the guy was gone," Van Der Meulen said.

Juan Salazar, 33, was then seen walking in an area just outside of Spring Hope on 64 Alternate where Sgt. Miguel Salazar spotted him. Investigators said Miguel fired one shot when Juan started coming toward him.

Sheriff Keith Stone said the situation could have been worse considering his office is short-staffed.

"It's very disturbing to me for the simple fact that we have 543 square miles and nearly 100,000 people," Stone said. "My deputy will have to live with this the rest of his life. Understand, the fabric of law enforcement, if law enforcement doesn't stop these threats, people breaking into your home, there's nobody else is coming."

According to Stone, the suspect was not known to him, nor any of his command staff or deputies he said he spoke to, but the suspect has lived in Nash County, in addition to living in Florida and Georgia.

Stone said he doesn't think the suspect knew the homeowners and it's too early to tell exactly what charges Salazar will face.

As for Van Der Meulen, she said after Thursday morning's frightening encounter, she'll be looking into a security system.

"We always lock our doors when we leave, but my husband is in and out of the house working in the yard," Van Der Meulen said. "The thought that someone at 7:30 in the morning of all times would just walk straight into your home is just unthinkable."

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is now in charge of the case.