Questions arise in police shooting case - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

10.5.04

Questions arise in police shooting case

These documents were leaked to the news media These documents were leaked to the news media
Sgt. Loren Lewis says a bb caused this bruise on his chest Sgt. Loren Lewis says a bb caused this bruise on his chest
James West has been charged with shooting Sgt. Lewis James West has been charged with shooting Sgt. Lewis

Brunswick County D.A. Rex Gore is worried a stack of papers anonymously given to news media outlets could hinder the effort to find out if an Oak Island officer was shot, or if there's more to the story.

"It concerns us what was otherwise confidential information has been released, and may in fact jeopardize the investigation," Gore says. 

In July, Sgt. Loren Lewis said he was shot after responding to a fireworks complaint on Elizabeth Drive in Oak Island. He said he was inside his patrol car when he felt something hit his badge and ricochet into his bullet proof vest.

Police charged 16-year-old James West with the shooting, but investigators aren't sure Sgt. Lewis' story matches the evidence.

In that packet, pictures apparently taken by detectives, show a large bruise from Lewis' alleged BB wound. But medical examiners say a BB gun shot from over 150 yards away, through a bullet proof vest, and police badge couldn't produce those bruises.

Now the State Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney's Office wants to know more.

"We're going to continue the investigation," Gore explains. "We haven't made any decision to drop the charges. We have strong evidence against West."

Oak Island Police Chief Tom Johnson and Sgt. Lewis could not be reached for comment. As for West, his charges are pending. He was supposed to appear in the Brunswick County Courthouse Tuesday, but it has been continued because of the investigation.

Reported By Maggie Alexander

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