GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Ranlo police officer of shooting and killing a 33-year-old man was released from the hospital Wednesday and taken to jail, authorities said.

Kwaku Riley Agyapon is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 33-year-old Juan Avalo. 

A search warrant obtained by Queen City News revealed that Agyapon was off duty at the time of the incident and said the altercation between Riley and Avalo started over Avalo’s significant other. 

The warrant said the Agyapon met Avalo and the woman when he was called their home in November over a domestic disturbance. Reports show that Avalo traveled to New York after the disturbance and that authorities were unable to serve him with an arrest warrant during that time. 

However, Gaston County Sheriff’s Office records show Avalo was booked into jail on Dec. 7 and charged with assault by strangulation, assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon, larceny, and assault with a deadly weapon with a minor present. 

The search warrant states that Agyapon and the woman stayed in touch after the domestic incident, and on New Year’s Eve, Avalo reportedly found Agyapon’s number in her phone. 

“We certainly did not detect any red flags with Officer Riley’s performance over the past four months,” Ranlo Town Manager Jonathan Blanton said. “He was an experienced officer. He had experience in other departments. 

After finding Agyapon’s phone number, Avalo allegedly contacted him, and the two arranged to meet up to fight. 

“Officer Riley suggested that they meet at the QT gas station to fight, and Avalo replied that Officer Riley knew where he lived,” the search warrant stated.

Not long after, Agyapon showed up at Avalo’s home with a gun. Authorities later determined that the gun was his service weapon. 

“It was very surprising and shocking to all of us that he was there,” Blanton said. “His motives and reasons for going there remains to be unseen. This was certainly not something that we were able to detect any type of similar behavior patterns, certainly nothing of this magnitude. Very shocking. Very, very disappointed.”

Investigators responding to the scene found Agyapon suffering from a stab wound to his neck. Emergency personnel took him to CaroMont Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries that morning. 

Authorities found Avalo with a gunshot wound to his head. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 5:20 a.m. 

Investigators said they found Agyapon’s car, registered to his wife, still running in the roadway near Avalo’s home. A car belong to Avalo’s significant other was also found, still running, on the road. She told investigators she witnessed the shooting.

“We’re working to ensure that our officers are taken care of — their mental health is taken care of, their physical health is taken care of — and we’re going to continue to be transparent and honest with everyone,” Blanton said.

Agyapon is being held without bond at the Cleveland County jail.

Blanton also said the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation decided reasonably early in the investigation to charge Agyapon with first-degree murder rather than classify the crime as self-defense.