DA Talks About Shooting that Killed College Student

Peyton Strickland
Peyton Strickland

WILMINGTON -- An 18-year-old college student is dead after a New Hanover County Sheriff's Deputy shot him Friday night.

Deputies, along with UNCW police, went to a home on Long Leaf Drive to arrest Peyton Strickland and Ryan Mills. They're accused of stealing Playstation 3 video consoles from a UNC Wilmington student a couple of weeks ago.

District Attorney Ben David held a news conference Monday morning. Very few details about what happened are being released. Authorities have not said how many deputies were involved in delivering the warrant or who fired the gun.

"I recognize that this is an absolutely tragic situation for any family to endure. I've already talked to Don Strickland, Peyton's father. I'm a father too. I recognize that any time we're dealing with a loss of a life, we're talking about someone's baby. No one is above the law and no one is beneath its protection. I commit to Peyton Strickland's family and to the men and women of law enforcement who I advise that I will go wherever the truth leads," says David.

David will meet with Strickland's family Tuesday. His parents, Don and Kathy Strickland, released a statement Sunday:

"Our son, Peyton, was a kind and gentle boy. He was generous, thoughtful and compassionate. He was deeply loved by us and adored by his two sisters and his extended family. Only 18, he had tremendous potential and was just coming into his own. We want to extend our appreciation to everyone who has reached out to us with expressions of love and support. We may well want to speak more about the circumstances of his tragic death, but we plan to devote the next few days to celebrating his life.

The SBI and the Attorney General's office are investigating the incident. David says the charges against Strickland are dismissed.

David says he has been in contact with Strickland's family, who live in Durham.

He's going to be meeting with them Tuesday to talk about the investigation.

Reported by Kacey Gaumer