CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Governor Pat McCrory signed the extradition papers Monday in order to bring a suspect back to North Carolina after authorities said he shot and killed Shelby Police Officer Tim Brackeen.
The Rhode Island State Police and the FBI arrested Irving Fenner, Jr. last Wednesday morning. Fenner appeared in a courtroom following his arrest and said he will fight extradition to North Carolina.
"I have said all along that I was committed to pursuing extradition in this case using all legal means that are available. It is vital that this investigation moves forward as quickly as possible, and part of that involves returning this suspect to North Carolina," said McCrory.
Officials picked up Fenner at an apartment in Coventry, Rhode Island.
Officers in Rhode Island tracked him to a family member's home and gave him a stark greeting Wednesday morning.
"Irving Fenner, this is the Rhode Island State Police. Come out with your hands up right now,” police announced outside the home.
Fenner surrendered 15 minutes later.
"We'll pursue you and if you want to fight, we'll fight back," Col. Steven O'Donnell, the Rhode Island State Police superintendent, told Channel 9 about capturing Fenner.
The three suspects' arraignment occurred Wednesday evening in Rhode Island.
The district attorney told reporter Ken Lemon that he will seek the death penalty for Fenner.
Sources told Channel 9 that police found the likely murder weapon Friday night.
Rhode Island police said they stepped up their efforts when they learned that Fenner was wanted for shooting and killing Brackeen.
"That's the ultimate. You can't do anything worse than that in this business," a Rhode Island officer said.
Fenner stayed with his sister and uncle in Rhode Island, where he nursed a gunshot wound to the torso that he apparently received during an exchange of gunfire with Brackeen.
Shelby police chief Jeff Ledford said news of Fenner's arrest was like a weight lifted off the backs of the officers.
"If there was time we needed a phone call in the middle of the night for good news this was it,” Ledford said.
The shooting happened when Brackeen tried to arrest Fenner at Ashley Hamrick's Shelby home.
Fenner was wanted in a home invasion case.
Hamrick made her first appearance in court Wednesday, on charges of harboring a fugitive.
Her boyfriend said they realized Fenner was wanted when he sent a copy of his mugshot to his sister by text.
Fenner told his sister he had made the county's most wanted list.
"He was kind of bragging about it,” said Hamrick’s boyfriend, Talmadge Keller.
After the shooting, Keller said he and his girlfriend did not want to have anything to do with Fenner.
After his arrest, Fenner was taken to a hospital to treat a gunshot wound that had occurred in Shelby, officials said. He is now in the custody of the Rhode Island State Police Department.
"It's just another animal and that's our opinion. Taking him off the street, killed a brother police officer. So our thoughts and prayers are with the Shelby Police Department and all police officers in North Carolina, and we're glad that we could help and do our little part,” O'Donnell said.
Click below to watch video of officers grieving the loss of Brackeen
Brackeen, 38, was shot over the weekend while looking for a wanted man and died Monday morning at Carolinas Medical Center, Ledford said.
The Mecklenburg County medical examiner completed Brackeen's autopsy report Wednesday. It shows he suffered a lethal gunshot wound to the chest.
A State Bureau of Investigation official said they arrested Deitria Morris Tuesday for accessory to murder. The SBI also arrested Hamrick Tuesday afternoon for harboring a fugitive. The two faced a judge Wednesday in Cleveland County.
Keller said he is friends with Fenner. Keller said the shooting of Brackeen happened in his neighbor's backyard.
"My heart is out with Tim's family," Keller said.
Keller has a history with the shooting suspect. They both lived with Hamrick.
On the night of the shooting, Keller, Fenner and a neighbor walked to a nearby Dairy Queen to use Wi-Fi.
Keller said the neighbor spotted an officer in the parking lot, so the three asked Hamrick to pick all them up so they could "avoid trouble."
He said Fenner got out of the car before they arrived home and that minutes later he and his girlfriend heard gunshots.
"It shocked me that I would be in a position like that," Keller said.
He said he didn't turn Fenner in because he was afraid of him.
"I wish I could turn back time and try to prevent it or something," he said. "I wish I could have done more."
Police in Providence, Rhode Island as well as a SWAT team, searched a home at 150 Oxford Street on Tuesday night. The house is believed to be that of Fenner's half-sister Jolisa Peeler, police said. During the raid, Peeler was arrested for accessory after the fact of first-degree murder.
Casey Fenner was also arrested on the same charges. Her connection to Irving Fenner Jr. is not yet known.
Brackeen had been with the Shelby Police Department since July 2004 and worked as a K-9 officer. He was named Officer of the Year in 2012. He was married and had a daughter.
"We had been praying for him,” resident Annie Harris said. "When I heard the news it hurt me so bad"
She didn't know Brackeen, but she believes that he was working to serve and protect her.
"He was just out here just trying to do his job," Harris said.
"We feel so sorry for this situation right now," said Dr. Guillermo Lesassier, the father of Brackeen's former partner. “We need more people like him.”
Shelby Mayor Stan Anthony presented Brackeen with the Officer of the Year award four years ago.
"Our community is just in a state of shock right now, to lose someone that was such a devoted and loved employee of our city right now," Anthony said.
"It's a tragedy for Shelby and the nation. This has got out of hand," said Kristy Strickland, whose mother served on the police force with Brackeem, and who knew him well.
The State Bureau of Investigation is helping with the investigation.
"At this time, our department asks for everyone to keep Officer Brackeen, his family and the entire department in their thoughts and prayers," Shelby police said in a news release.
Read messages of support from surrounding agencies below:
Cox Media Group