North Carolina

A dating app lured a robbery victim. That started a crime spree that left an officer shot.

‘Our community is hurting,’ says Raleigh police chief

Raleigh police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown spoke with the press on Friday about officer Charles Ainsworth, expressing thanks to the community for continued support and condemning gun violence.
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Raleigh police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown spoke with the press on Friday about officer Charles Ainsworth, expressing thanks to the community for continued support and condemning gun violence.

Cedric Kearney told police he and his girlfriend used an online dating app to lure a man to a west Raleigh neighborhood, where they robbed him at gunpoint and stole his car.

Five days later, on Jan. 9, Kearney shot a Raleigh police officer several times on the same street where the robbery occurred, authorities say.

Search warrants released this week provide new details about the crime spree that ultimately left officer Charles D. Ainsworth severely wounded. He underwent surgery that night, but police have not released his medical condition.

Kearney, 24, of Henderson has been charged with attempted murder. After his arrest, he told police about the Jan. 4 robbery at the intersection of Teakwood Place and Schaub Drive, according to search warrants.

His girlfriend, 21-year-old Sherry Richmond of Hillsborough, has also been charged in the robbery.

Kearney and Richmond both told police they used a dating app to set up a meeting with a man so that Kearney “could steal from him,” search warrants say.

When the victim arrived, according to warrants, Kearney approached him, threatened him with a gun and took his Dodge Dart.

Ainsworth, who graduated from the Raleigh police academy in late 2017, responded to the robbery that night, records show.

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Raleigh police officer C.D. Ainsworth

Then on Jan. 9, a 911 caller told a dispatcher the stolen Dodge Dart was back on Teakwood Place. Ainsworth and another officer, B.A. Halpin, arrived shortly before 8 p.m. and encountered two men, later identified by police as Kearney and 21-year-old Antonio Daquan Fletcher.

When Halpin told the men to show their hands, Kearney immediately opened fire on Ainsworth “at very close range” and ran away, according to a report from the Raleigh city manager. Halpin returned fire but did not strike Kearney.

Fletcher, meanwhile, complied with Halpin’s commands, the report said.

A search for Kearney ensued, and a K-9 eventually tracked him to a storage shed on Wendy Lane.

While investigating the shooting, police learned that hours earlier on Jan. 9 someone stole six guns from a home in the 600 block of Steedmont Drive in Holly Springs. Police charged Kearney with the break-in, along with Richmond and 20-year-old Amonie Fletcher.

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Cedric Jamal Kearney CCBI

Amonie Fletcher, a sister of Antonio Fletcher, had stayed in the Holly Springs home and had a key, according to search warrants.

Amonie Fletcher lives in the 1200 block of Teakwood Place, where the Jan. 4 robbery and the Jan. 9 shooting occurred, records show.

The night of the shooting, police found Richmond in a bedroom inside Amonie Fletcher’s apartment, according to search warrants.

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Thomasi McDonald is a veteran journalist who writes about crime and public safety issues.


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