N.C. K-9 killed during shootout with robbery suspect

The suspect opened fire when he was found hiding in the crawl space under a house


By Julian Shen-Berro
The News & Observer 

GRANVILLE COUNTY, N.C. — A Franklin County Sheriff's Office police dog was killed after deputies and an armed robbery suspect exchanged gunshots Sunday morning, according to authorities.

William Darius Eichelberger, 21, has been charged with 10 felonies, said Terry Hobgood, a spokesperson for the Granville County Sheriff's Office.

Three-year-old Franklin County K-9 Officer Major died from a gunshot wound on Sunday.
Three-year-old Franklin County K-9 Officer Major died from a gunshot wound on Sunday. (Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

A German Shepherd K-9 police dog named Major died from a gunshot wound, authorities said. He was 3 years old.

Eichelberger is accused of stealing a car around 3:15 p.m. Saturday in the unincorporated Antioch community in Granville County, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

Deputies canvassed the area Saturday night but could not find Eichelberger, according to the news release.

The next day, authorities responded to a "suspicious fire" on Richard Lane near Antioch Road, finding Eichelberger in the crawl space of a house, Hobgood said.

Franklin County deputies were helping to clear the crawl space when authorities say Eichelberger fired shots at them.

Franklin deputies returned fire but did not strike him, Hobgood said.

No deputies were harmed during the incident.

A crisis negotiator later persuaded Eichelberger to come out and surrender, officials said.

Deputies found an "assault-style rifle" beneath the house, according to the news release.

Eichelberger has been placed under $1 million bail in Granville County.

He has been charged with assault on a law enforcement agency K9, assault on law enforcement officers with a firearm, two counts of breaking and/or entering, breaking and entering a motor vehicle, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of a stolen firearm, robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of stolen goods/property, and larceny of a motor vehicle.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations will investigate the incident, as is standard when law enforcement officers fire their weapon.

(c)2022 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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