Sheriff: Possible Explosive Found Where Officers Shot Man in North Carolina

January 22, 2016 Updated: January 22, 2016
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STATESVILLE, N.C.—North Carolina investigators found a possible explosive device in the home where sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man during a confrontation in Statesville, a sheriff said Wednesday.

State Bureau of Investigation agents found the device Tuesday night as they went into the home where deputies had tried to serve an eviction notice, Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell said in a news release.

“It was a small item that could potentially … I’m sure it could have damaged something,” Campbell told reporters during a news briefing following the statement’s release. “Not a big item, but something that they were concerned about enough to contact their bomb disposal unit and have their experts look at it. “

A bomb disposal unit handled the device without incident.

Samuel Edward Grady, 55, confronted two deputies with a large knife, the sheriff said. A third deputy arrived, and officers reported that shots were fired. Campbell said previously that the man lunged at the officers.

There was no indication Grady had a prior criminal record, according to a search of a courts database and a Department of Corrections online search.

Grady’s home is on a quiet street of mostly ranch-style homes. While most of the homes on the block were kept up, Grady’s home appeared to have fallen into disrepair. There were coverings on the windows on the front of the home, and a cat sat in the larger window next to the front door. A tree near the front of the house had a scorched trunk.

The door to the carport was missing a window pane, and there was a blood stain on the carport floor where the confrontation between Grady and the officers took place.

Campbell says it appears his officers followed proper policies and procedures, and they have been placed on administrative leave with pay during an internal investigation. Spokesman Randy Cass said it was the first shooting involving a department deputy since 2007, which also ended with a suspect being killed.

Deputy John Fletcher has 14 years of law enforcement experience. Deputy Reggie Allen has 16 years of service. Deputy Roger Vargas has about three years of experience. Campbell said none of the deputies had ever been involved in a shooting.

“Any time you’re put in this situation, you’re going to be upset,” Campbell said. “No deputy gets up in the morning and wants this to happen.”

Peggy Aldridge, 67, was Grady’s next-door neighbor for 15 years and was walking her dog when she said she heard a deputy yell, “Put the knife down!” Then she said she heard three shots and saw Grady fall to the carport floor.

“Sammy was quiet, stayed mostly to himself,” Aldridge said. “If you’d see him in the yard, he spoke.”

Aldridge said other neighbors had tried to help Grady with his yard or his house, but he rejected their efforts.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into any criminal activity at the home, the sheriff said.