In this Thursday, May 7, 2020, photo, provided by the Port City Daily, high school senior Dameon Shepard, right, his mother, Monica Shepard, and their attorney Jim Lea, left, pose for a photo at the Shepard’s home in the Rocky Point area of Pender County, in North Carolina. New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputy Jordan Kita faces criminal charges after authorities say he led a group of people to the wrong location, the Shepards’ home, in a search for a missing girl. Kita has also been fired. (Mark Darrough/Port City Daily via AP)
Published 05/10/2020 | Reading Time 2 min 32 sec
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina is facing criminal charges after authorities said he led a group of armed people to the wrong home in a search for a missing girl.
New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said Friday that Jordan Kita, who worked in the New Hanover Sheriff’s Office, will be charged with trespassing and breaking and entering.
Kita led an armed group May 3 to the home of Dameon Shepard, a senior at Laney High School in Wilmington, according to James W. Lea, a lawyer for Shepard’s family who is preparing a civil lawsuit.
The all-white group tried unsuccessfully to force its way into the home of Shepard, who is black, news outlets reported.
Kita was looking for Lekayda Kempisty, a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing earlier that day. She was later found safe.
In its effort to find Lekayda, Kita’s group was searching for someone named Josiah who used to live next door.
Shepard told news outlets that he repeatedly tried to point out to the group that they had the wrong house and that a yard sign out front explicitly congratulated “Dameon” on his high school graduation, to no avail.
Shepard’s mother, Monica Shepard, also told the group they should leave, according to Lea.
“Coming to the door like that with a mob of people with guns, what do we expect? What were their intentions?” Monica Shepard told WECT-TV. “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.”
David said there was believed to be some sort of familial relationship between Kita and the girl.
Authorities said Kita has been fired. It’s unclear whether he had an attorney who could comment.
A second man in Kita’s group is also facing a criminal charge for “going armed to the terror of the public.”