North Carolina deputy wounded in shooting expected to recover; suspect facing numerous charges

State - Regional

(Erin Jenkins, WNCT photo)

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said one deputy was shot and two others were OK after being “roughed up a little bit” during a welfare check Friday night.

The incident happened about 9 p.m. Friday at 165 Crooked Run Drive, just outside of James City after the sheriff’s office was contacted to serve an involuntary commitment order on Robert Joseph Westrup, 41.

After speaking with deputies, officials said Westrup became noncompliant and rushed to the upstairs area of his house. Deputies followed him and tried to take him into custody before he shot Deputy Zachary Bellingham in the abdomen.

Deputies returned fire, with two of them taking cover upstairs in a bedroom. They were unable to move because of where Westrup was located. Other deputies were able to move Bellingham to safety and call for help.

Another deputy came later and provided coverage so the two trapped deputies could exit the home. New Bern police, members of the NC State Highway Patrol, members of the State Bureau of Investigation and other officials quickly arrived and tried to talk Westrup to come out of the home.

Tear gas was deployed into the home as a negotiator continued to try to reach Westrup. Westrup soon came out and was taken into custody without incident.

Bellingham was taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern and then flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. He had surgery for the gunshot wound and is expected to recover.

Westrup was also taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center and flown to Vidant Medical to be treated for a single gunshot wound. He was taken to the Craven County Detention Center after being released from the hospital.

Westrup is charged with assault on a law enforcement with a deadly weapon and attempted first degree murder. He is being held under a $2 million bond. Additional charges will be filed at a later date.

The SBI is investigating at the request of Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes and District Attorney Scott Thomas.

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