Witness calls deputy a hero in deadly Salisbury restaurant shooting

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

China Buffet shooting
SALISBURY, N.C. —

Investigators told Channel 9 the off-duty deputy who shot and killed a robbery suspect at a busy restaurant was justified.
 
Since then police have been piecing together what happened inside the China Buffet off North Arlington Street.
 
One witness described hearing the gunfire.
 
"I saw him with the bandana on with the gun raised, pointed it toward people working there," the witness said.
 
Glen Stanley and a friend were sitting just feet away from where the shooting happened at the China Buffet last night.  
 
Witnesses said there were more than a dozen customers and several employees inside the restaurant when a man wearing gloves and a bandana over his face and carrying a shotgun entered the restaurant.
 
What he didn't know was that off-duty Rowan County Deputy John Kempf was inside and had his department issued .40 caliber Glock handgun.
 
Witnesses said Kempf intervened during the robbery after the suspect raised his weapon, moving it side to side in the direction of the workers.    
 
Stanley says he remembers the deputy, who he described as a hero, issued a warning before firing his gun.
 
'Put the gun down,' “It was pretty direct,” Stanley said. “You would have time to put the gun down. Without him being there, Lord knows where everyone would be at this point."

The sheriff’s office said Kempf acted in a manner consistent with his training and the laws of the state of North Carolina. 
 
The district attorney will make the final decision on the case once the State Bureau of Investigation completes its investigation.