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Off-duty officer charged with first-degree murder, fired after domestic dispute

An off-duty Ranlo police officer shot and killed a person who allegedly stabbed him multiple times early New Year's Day in Gaston County.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — An off-duty Ranlo police officer who shot and killed a suspect who stabbed him multiple times during a dispute in Gaston County has been charged with first-degree murder, according to a press release from the town of Ranlo.

Ranlo police responded to a reported stabbing and shooting at a home on Burlington Avenue a little after 2 a.m. on New Year's Day, the town of Ranlo said in a press release. When officers arrived, they determined an off-duty Ranlo police officer, now identified as Kwaku Riley Agyapon, shot and killed a person after being stabbed multiple times.

Agyapon was charged with first-degree murder after Ranlo police turned the investigation over to the Gaston County Police Department and requested assistance from the State Bureau of Investigation. 

The SBI conducted an investigation, and, in cooperation with the Gaston County District Attorney's Office, obtained a warrant for the charges of first-degree murder against Agyapon.

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Agyapon was observed at CaroMont Health and taken to Gaston County jail after his release from the hospital. Jail records show he was booked on Wednesday, Jan. 4, and not granted bond.

Credit: Gaston County Jail
Kwaku Riley Agyapon

On Tuesday, Jan. 4, the town of Ranlo identified the man killed as 33-year-old Juan Nikely Avalo. 

On Jan. 10, police confirmed that Agyapon had been fired.

WCNC Charlotte has reached out to the SBI and Gaston County Courts for more information and is waiting to hear back. 

The town of Ranlo is located north of Gastonia, between Lowell and Spencer Mountain in Gaston County.

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Note: WCNC instituted a new policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.  

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings.

WCNC Charlotte is choosing to show the mugshots of the suspects in this case because Agyapon is a public official.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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