In the eyes of police officers across Iredell County, 2019 will be remembered as year of new faces in leadership in Troutman, Statesville and Mooresville.
All three municipalities saw shifts, some historic, of the person holding the title of chief of police. Statesville picked up its first black police chief and the Troutman Police Department saw a woman take the reins for the first time.
From Bull City to Statesville
The first major news came in January when City Manager Ron Smith announced David Addison as the new face of the Statesville Police Department. Former Chief Joe Barone retired at the end of 2018. Assistant Chief David Onley served as the acting head of the department until Addison took over Feb. 11.
Prior to joining SPD, Addison served 22 years with the Durham Police Department, and has earned degrees in information technology, engineering and law.
A first for Troutman
Troutman followed in mid-April when Chief Matthew Selves, having the title for 12 years, left to pursue a public safety risk management consultant role for the N.C. League of Municipalities. It was announced in September that Tina Fleming would take the mantle of chief Oct. 14. She is the first woman to hold the position.
She’s also had a hand in training many of Iredell County’s own law enforcement officers, as she’s been the director of the Basic Law Enforcement Training program at Mitchell Community College for 13 years.
Transition marked the Mooresville Police Department in 2019. On June 3, Police Chief Damon Williams was placed on paid administrative leave with city officials citing an external investigation regarding claims of a hostile work environment in the department.
Williams told the Mooresville Tribune the action was in retaliation for him launching an internal affairs probe in the agency’s narcotics unit in late 2018. Mooresville Commissioner Barbara Whittington rebutted that claim, telling the Tribune she couldn’t disclose the exact scope of the investigation, but it didn’t concern criminal matters.
Ron Campurciani was brought in as acting chief two weeks later under a six-month contract.
The department, also dealing with the loss of Officer Jordan Sheldon in May, began the restructuring process as the investigation continued. It was concluded and the report turned over to the city in October.
Williams handed in his resignation in mid-November. Campurciani took over as police chief Dec. 18.
A new development in the Marty Teague case
The search for Marty Teague has been something that perplexed both his loved ones and authorities for almost a year-and-a-half.
Teague went missing since July 24, 2018, and left his cell phone, wallet and medication behind. The only things missing were him and his 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Cpl. Christy Cleary with the Statesville Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit is investigating the case.
A break came in August 2019 when Teague’s Jeep wad found on a piece of property east of the city limits on Sain Road.
Police have not released any additional information about the case since discovering the vehicle.
Former teacher arrested
Derone Martin McNeill was initially arrested and faced more than 80 charges of sexual assault. He was indicted on 28 charges of sexual activity by an Iredell County grand jury in July.
On March 26, initial charges were brought against McNeill by the Statesville Police Department stemming from allegations of a 2012 sexual assault. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office announced more charges the next day.
McNeil was taken into custody April 3 following his release from a Forsyth County hospital. McNeill’s bond was reduced from $2 million secured to a $100,000 bond April 8; he was released on bond the same day.
At the time charges were announced, McNeill was a teacher assistant and bus driver at Pressly School. Iredell-Statesville Schools announced there was an internal school investigation examining McNeill, but that was ended when he was terminated as an I-SS employee April 6.
Two teens charged in death of Marcus Moore
The murder of Marcus Moore and the assault of his brother Timmy resulted in murder charges against two teenagers.
Quiton Que’shon Kasey, 19, and Azontay Vontavius Sherrill, 18, were each charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and two counts of conspiracy days after Moore’s death.
Addison said police found a Taurus 111 9mm handgun when Sherrill was arrested, and autopsy reports indicated eight shell casing from a 9mm and 40 caliber firearms were found at the scene. The autopsy report indicated Moore died from a gunshot wound.
Sherrill is scheduled to appear in Iredell County Superior Court in January; Kasey has an appearance slated for March.
2 juvenile homicides in Statesville
An infant and toddler died and both were ruled homicides.
In July, 34-year-old Erika Renee Altamirano of Holland Drive was charged with second-degree murder and felony child abuse.
Sheriff Darren Campbell said an investigation began after a child was reported to be in critical condition at Davis Regional Medical Center in late June.
Physicians diagnosed the child with a significant skull fracture as well as other injuries; they determined those injuries were both life-threatening and consistent with nonaccidental trauma, Campbell said.
The child died at the Brenner Childrren’s Hospital in Winston-Salem July 4; Altamirano was arrested July 16.
The Statesville Police Department announced Sept. 5 it was investigating the death of a 2-year-old who was found unresponsive and later died at a local hospital.
Police made an arrest in the case Oct. 15, charging 27-year-old Jordan Hoyt Simmons with second-degree murder and felony intentional child abuse with serious bodily injuries.
Union Grove man charged in murder of neighbor
Deputies received a report regarding an assault in the 300 block of Indian Hill Road around 5 a.m. Nov. 18. The suspect in what became a homicide investigation evaded law enforcement for around 10 hours.
Pierson Worth Colbert, 23, was charged that afternoon with the murder of 44-year-old Robert John Quinn. Quinn was found in a driveway with wounds to the head and pronounced dead at the scene. Colbert was arrested in Yadkin County reportedly driving a stolen vehicle.
After initially being charged with murder and felony larceny of a vehicle, the next day Colbert was served with additional warrants on felony charges of larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, misdemeanor charges of attempted breaking and entering to a residence and larceny and assault on a governmental official.
He is currently being held without bond and is scheduled to appear in Iredell County Superior Court Jan. 14.