WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) -- A Wake County sheriff's deputy is recovering from serious injuries after being beaten outside a child's birthday party Saturday.
Sheriff Donnie Harrison said it happened about 11:45 p.m. outside the Panther Branch Community Center on Ten-Ten Road.
He said about a hundred people, including his off-duty deputy and the four suspects now charged, were at the party where people were drinking alcohol.
Warrants allege Gabriel Moreno asked the deputy to come outside the building and when he did, Remi Nambo, Delfino Alejo, and Gabriel's brother Miguel jumped out from behind parked cars. The four are accused of pinning the unarmed deputy on the ground, punching and kicking him so badly that Sheriff Harrison said his officer didn't have a chance to fight back.
Harrison believes they tried to kill the deputy.
"I think they would have," he said. "What they were doing, the way they were kicking him and beating him- he could've very easily died. And I don't think they cared either way."
He said the men were yelling expletives at the deputy as they punched and kicked him and that they targeted him solely because he's a law enforcement officer.
"To me, that's just uncalled for," he said. "There he is at a child's birthday party and people that don't like law enforcement are going to single him out to beat him up - I have no use for 'em."
But the Morenos' sister, Alex, who was in the courtroom for their first appearance Wednesday, said prosecutors aren't telling the story the way it actually happened.
"I know how they are. I know what they are. I'm not gonna defend them- they're not victims here," Alex said of her brothers. "But they're just exaggerating. They're exaggerating. We know this person. We know the cop and there's a lot of things that he does that a cop does not do."
Moreno said she left the party before the deputy was beaten, but she believes alcohol played a role in what happened.
"I think something either party said - something that might have disagreed with the other crowd. I don't know," she said. "But yea, he was definitely not targeted - not because he's a cop."
In court Wednesday, the DA said all four suspects are validated gang members. They're being held separately at the Wake County Detention Center under bonds of up to $2 million.
They're due in court again next month.