WJTV News Channel 12 - SBI: Beaufort officers justified in using lethal force

SBI: Beaufort officers justified in using lethal force

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BEAUFORT, N.C. - Two Beaufort officers who shot and killed a man on Halloween night were justified in using lethal force.

That's according to the District Attorney and State Bureau of Investigation.

The two officers, Detective Eric Sassano and Officer Brian Willis, were the first to respond to reports of a shooting on Rutledge Ave. That's where they found Arthur Page, of Raleigh, after he shot two people and refused to drop his weapon. Page was killed after the two opened fire on him.

Both men were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

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It was a true Halloween horror story for one family in Carteret County.

Just hours after trick-or-treaters left the neighborhood, three people were shot, one of them fatally.

It happened in Beaufort around 10:30 last night in the 200 block of Rutledge Avenue.

Police say a gunman, Arthur Page, showed up at his sister's doorstep and threatened to harm her.

Now two officers are on administrative leave while the State Bureau of Investigations looks into whether the lethal use of force against the gunman was justified in this case.

The shooting victim opened up to 9 On Your Side about her frightening experience.

"He came up to me and said, ‘Happy Halloween. I'm going to settle the score,'" said Salazar.

Salazar says her brother, who lives in Durham, showed up drunk in her backyard with a double barrel shotgun. She ran to her neighbor's house, but her brother followed.

"He just started slamming me with his fist and I grabbed the barrel of the gun and we just fought," she said.

Salazar says she was nearly unconscious from the beatings, when police showed up in the nick of time. Her neighbor was not present when police arrived.

"He [Page] had me pinned down with his leg and I was about to black out and I knew he was reloading the gun," said Salazar.

"I will go out on a limb and say these officers are heroes in my eyes," said Chief Steve Lewis of the Beaufort Police Department.

And for their quick thinking, they're heroes in Salazar's eyes too.

"When they told him to drop it twice and he didn't, they had to shoot and it saved my life," said Salazar.

Salazar says her brother had an undiagnosed mental illness, and that he was jealous of her because their father had left her a larger inheritance than him. Despite her brother's death, she says she has no regrets about the police's actions.

Salazar was treated and released from Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City.

Salazar says her neighbor, Macarthur Wright, was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville for surgery.

His name is not listed in the hospital directory.

The Beaufort police chief says this is the first time since 1996 there has been an active shooter situation in Beaufort.

-- Previous Story --

A shooting in Carteret County that killed a man was sparked by a domestic dispute.

It happened Thursday night on Rutledge Ave. in Beaufort just before 10:30 p.m.

Officers arriving on the scene spotted a female and a male in the living room in the process of loading a shotgun. The two officers ordered the man to put down the shotgun, but he continued loading it, raising the barrel of the shotgun in the direction of the woman. Officers then fired on the man, killing him in the process.

Emergency crews secured the scene and transported two gunshot victims to Carteret General Hospital.

Police believe the shooting resulted from a domestic dispute between the shooter, Arthur Page, and his sister, Susan Zimmerman Salazar. During the altercation, police said Salazar ran to a neighbor's house. McAurthur Wright, who lives at the home, let her in, but Page followed and fired the shotgun through the door, wounding Wright.

Lewis said the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

As is standard in officer-involved shootings, the State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident. The Carteret County Sheriff's Office is also investigating.
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