First Posted: 1/22/2009
DOBSON Two Surry County officers who were placed on leave last week after the shooting of a suspect who had allegedly murdered his wife are back on the job.
They went back to work yesterday, Sheriff Graham Atkinson said Thursday of Deputies Wayne Banks and Kenny Holbrook.
The two officers were allowed to return to active duty in the wake of a meeting on Monday between Surry District Attorney Ricky Bowman and representatives of the sheriffs office and the State Bureau of Investigation to discuss the case.
The SBI conducts independent investigations of officer-related shootings to determine if any violations of laws or procedures were involved.
After reviewing the findings surrounding the Jan. 12 shootout between law enforcement officers and Christopher Scott Hiatt on Sable Lane north of Mount Airy, Bowman decided there was no wrongdoing on their part, Atkinson said.
He felt like he was OK with saying there was no violation of law, the sheriff said of the district attorneys position. We looked at it, and dont think there was a violation of policy anywhere.
Hiatt has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of his estranged wife, Deonna Hiatt, 19, on Jan. 11. She was discovered alive, but unresponsive, in a pickup on Dusty Lane by authorities who were investigating a reported break-in around 11 p.m. Jan. 11 at a paving and grading company owned by Christopher Hiatts family.
At the time, he allegedly was digging a grave for his wife with a backhoe.
In the morning hours Jan. 12, when county deputies located Hiatt, he allegedly pulled out a gun and began firing at them. Hiatt received multiple gunshot wounds in a subsequent shootout with officers and was found in some nearby woods about an hour later.
Hiatt was airlifted to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he underwent surgery for his injuries. He was charged with murder on Jan. 15 and moved to Central Prison in Raleigh, where he will remain until his case comes to court.
Banks and Holbrook went on leave last week, pending the results of the inquiry into the shooting. As soon as the incident was over with, they were put on paid administrative leave, the sheriff said, adding that this action was required by departmental policy.
Other Probe Continues
An inquiry in an earlier case in which a man was fatally shot by county officers is still unresolved, Atkinson added Thursday.
In that case, Lindzey Gray Bowman, 70, of 271 Greentown Road, Mount Airy, was shot by two officers after he allegedly rammed several patrol cars on U.S. 52 on Nov. 18.
Bowman died on Dec. 4 at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where he had been treated in the Intensive Care Unit after the shooting.
The district attorney is awaiting a response from the SBI concerning its investigation of that matter to determine if any action should result against the two officers it is focusing on, Detective Scott Hudson and Deputy Mark Billings.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected], or at 719-1924.