Deputy killed in Wake County was 13-year veteran of department; suspect on the loose, sheriff says

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — The Wake County Sheriff’s Office has identified a deputy killed early Friday in a shooting east of Raleigh.

Ned Byrd, 48, worked for the sheriff’s office for 13 years before he was killed, Sheriff Gerald Baker said. Authorities are still searching for a suspect in the shooting.

The deputy was shot multiple times while responding to a call on a dark stretch of Auburn Knightdale Road near Battle Bridge Road around 11 p.m. Thursday, Baker told WTVD, our ABC affiliate in Raleigh.

Byrd did not radio for help after he was shot, WTVD reported. He was found dead when the sheriff’s office sent other deputies to check on his welfare, Baker said.

Baker also confirmed that Byrd was shot more than once while he was outside of his patrol car.

When asked if he thought Byrd was caught off guard by the shooting, WTVD reported Baker responded, “I believe, based on what I’ve seen so far, that the answer to that is yes.”

The sheriff’s office said the investigation into the deadly shooting remains open and active. Baker told the media dashcam video and surveillance video from a nearby business were being used in the investigation.

The person who shot and killed Byrd remains unidentified and at large. No further details have been released about who investigators think may be responsible.

This was Baker’s second news conference of the day. Friday morning, WTVD reported the sheriff held back tears during his first briefing.

“We will find who’s responsible for this loss,” Baker said. “Even in the midst of the hurt and the pain, we ask for prayers, we ask for patience as we go about finding out what happened and who’s responsible.”

Byrd was a K9 Deputy, the sheriff’s office said. He joined the sheriff’s office in July 2009 as a detention officer and started Basic Law Enforcement Training School to become a certified law enforcement officer in September 2017. He was sworn in as a deputy in March 2018.

Byrd’s police dog was found sitting alone inside his patrol vehicle, according to WTVD’s reporting.

“Which tells me, tells us that what he got out on apparently to him at that time didn’t appear to be any sort of a threat,” Baker told the media.

The sheriff’s office said law enforcement was looking for a white pickup truck that could possibly be connected to the case. No further details were made available.

“We don’t know if it was a traffic stop,” sheriff’s office spokesman Eric Curry said midday Friday. “We’re trying to gather why the deputy stopped where he did.”

Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies were also in the area Friday to join “a manhunt for the perpetrator or perpetrators,” Curry said.

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association said it is offering a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person accused of murdering Byrd.

Six deputies have been shot in North Carolina in recent weeks.

A deputy in Caswell County was shot Wednesday morning while serving a warrant. Three Wayne County deputies were shot, including deputy Sgt. Matthew Fishman who was killed, while serving involuntary committal papers earlier this month.

Last month, a Simpson County deputy was hurt in a shooting outside Roseboro.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Full statement from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association regarding the recent shootings involving law enforcement:

“A law enforcement officer’s primary duties are to safeguard lives and property and to serve the public. Doing so comes with risk. All law enforcement officers accept this risk when they first take their oath of office, and at the beginning of each subsequent shift. The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, representing all 100 sheriffs in our state, is horrified by the recent acts of violence in which seven members of our profession have been injured or killed by gunfire in less than three weeks. We grieve with the families of the affected officers, and we offer our condolences to their friends, coworkers, and communities. We extend our support to every law enforcement officer; we know these shootings make the burdens of your service heavier and the dangers of your work feel imminently more threatening. The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association acknowledges your daily bravery and loyal commitment to others, and we stand with you. We ask the public for assistance. A safe, civil, and peaceful society requires a collective commitment to decency and to following public standards; it also requires a system of accountability in our communities for those who violate the law.”

(WATCH BELOW: Sheriff: NC deputy shot while serving warrant; suspect in custody after standoff)