Suspected shooter of volunteer firefighter makes first court appearance

by: Trish Williford Updated:

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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. —

Eyewitness News was the only station there as Rowan County Sheriff's deputies arrested a man they said could be the triggerman in a violent robbery and shooting of a volunteer firefighter.

Rowan County sheriff's deputies charged 23-year-old Khari McClelland in the shooting of Marcus Kauffman outside his Cleveland home.

McClelland went before a Superior Court judge early Tuesday. The judge read the charges against him -- attempted murder, felony breaking and entering, felony larceny and felony larceny of a firearm -- and gave him a court-appointed attorney.

Police say a tip led them to McClelland's ex-girlfriend's home in southwest Conover in Catawba County. McClelland was found in a bedroom.

"Matter of fact, he had laid down on the floor and his arms were spread out. It appeared he had been in that position before. He knew what was going on when we come through the door," said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid.

McClelland was transported to the Rowan County Sheriff's Office for questioning. He was booked in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $5,000,000 bond. 

Kauffman was shot in the head outside his home Dec. 2 after he and his pregnant wife returned from a Thanksgiving trip. He was critically injured and is still in the hospital.

Rowan County sheriff's deputies say McClelland, 19-year-old Jaylend Turner and 25-year-old Michael Teasley are all charged in the crime. All three suspects are behind bars, but deputies are still on the lookout for a final suspect, Tramel Hart, who is wanted as an accessory to the crime.

"It puts the community at ease, I hope. This is one of the most serious perpetrators in this crime," said Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten.

Rowan County sheriff's investigators say it's a high possibility that Kauffman was shot with his own gun, which was stolen from his home during the robbery.

A Facebook page has been set up in Kauffman's honor. You can visit it by clicking here.


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