The Shepards were trying to spend a calm Sunday night at home when they were terrorized by a mob of armed white folks. An investigation is ongoing.
A mob of angry white folks stormed up to the home of Monica Shepard in Pender County, North Carolina, late Sunday night demanding entry inside. Though she was sleeping at the time, her son Dameon Shepard opened the door. The mob claimed they were looking for information about a young girl who had gone missing. They added that they were in search of an individual named Josiah. When the teenage boy did not have answers to their questions, he attempted to close the door. However, one man tried to force entry into their home. The mob was armed and included an off-duty deputy of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, WECT 6 News reports. The news is especially egregious as the Shepards are African-American.
The individual named Josiah had formerly lived in the neighborhood right next to the Shepards, but moved out a month earlier. The angry white mob continued to press for information from Dameon, who repeated his name several times. A sign bearing his name, celebrating his pending graduation from Laney High School, was also placed on the front lawn. Two people in the crowd were carrying weapons, one was armed with an assault weapon and the other with a shotgun. Deputy J.T. Kita, who works in the detention division of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, was also part of the mob. He was in uniform and armed.
Hearing the commotion, Monica Shepard woke up and walked to the front door. The deputy had stuck his foot in the door as her son was trying to persuade the mob to leave. Though the mother too attempted to get the group to leave her property, they refused. The deputy grew more and more insistent about coming inside. "He just said, ‘I’m going to step inside, close the door, and talk to you guys.’ And I said, ‘No, you’re not,'" Shepard explained. "He had his foot on the threshold of my door, holding the door open and he said it again. He said, ‘I’m going to step inside close the door and I’ll talk to you,’ when I said, ‘No, you’re not.'"
Eventually, the group understood that they had the wrong residence and began disbanding. However, the Pender County Sheriff's Office had already been called to the disturbance. Two deputies arrived and spoke with the Shepards, but took no names of those in the group and did not pursue an investigation. One of the captains returned the day after and indicated it would be "complicated to arrest anyone." He did state nonetheless that he would “look into it.” Ever since, there has been no update on the case. Therefore, the Shepards' attorney Lea Schultz has written to the District Attorney demanding and investigation. He added that his law firm planned to take action on the matter.
"We obviously cannot have armed groups of citizens patrolling the streets of Pender County or New Hanover County terrorizing innocent families," he wrote. "Add to the fact that they were also accompanied by apparently a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputy that was off duty and armed, makes this matter particularly egregious." Meanwhile, Shepard is still in shock. She said, "Coming to the door like that with a mob of people with guns what do we expect? What were their intentions? What if he was the person they were looking for or what if I was not home? What would’ve happened? I don’t want to have that conversation. I don’t want him to be a statistic. It’s scary."
Mere weeks after Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down in broad daylight while running, incidents like these can be traumatizing for black families just trying to spend a calm Sunday night at home. At present, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that they are conducting an internal investigation; the deputy's employment status is unknown. Further to this, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office claimed that they are investigating the "disturbance."