ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Rowan County Sheriff Travis Allen said his deputies reacted appropriately during a shooting that unfolded as a house fire burned four days ago.
On Dec. 2, deputies with the Rowan County Sheriff's Office joined other first responders on a house fire call at 1 a.m. in the Rockwell community. However, a man later identified as 45-year-old Ronald Wayne Green reportedly shot at them, and deputies returned fire. One deputy struck and killed Green.
In a news release on Tuesday, Dec. 6, Sheriff Allen lamented Green's death but said his deputies did the right thing to protect the people who were responding to the fire. He also offered condolences to Green's family.
"It is never our desire for outcomes to end in this manner. However, we are called upon at times to use force necessary, reasonable, and appropriate for the protection of our community and fellow first responders," part of his statement reads.
Allen's statement also confirmed an internal investigation has been launched separately from the one underway conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI). Allen noted that he reviewed the body camera footage from the shooting and said he felt assured that "our deputies conducted themselves in a professional and courageous manner while in the face of life-threatening danger".
Sheriff Allen shared the names of the deputies involved in the shootout along with more details from the scene:
- Deputy Robert Clement, who has been with the sheriff's office for 11 months, was reportedly hit in the left hand by an apparent pelleted shotgun blast. Clement kept exchanging gunfire with Green despite his injury according to Sheriff Allen and tried getting Green to de-escalate. Deputy Clement was treated on scene
- Master Deputy Randal Addison, who was hired by the office in June 2015, saw damage to his coat and uniform from the gunfire but was not hurt. Like Clement, Allen said Addison tried to get Green to de-escalate the situation. Addison also directed other deputies to respond in a way to keep the public and other first responders out of danger
- Master Deputy Nikolas Plumley, who has been with the sheriff's office since February 2015, also gave verbal commands and exchanged gunfire with Green according to Sheriff Allen
- Deputy Taylor Warren, who has been at the Rowan County Sheriff's Office since September 2017, was at the back of the residence when the shots rang out. While he wasn't able to exchange gunfire with Green, he also gave commands to Green to de-escalate
Sheriff Allen notes all four deputies have been offered support. Additionally, other first responders have been offered similar support by Rowan County Human Resources.
Sheriff Allen's full statement follows:
As you are aware Deputies of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office were in a deadly force encounter along with an Officer of the Granite Quarry Police Department during the early morning hours of December 2nd. During the encounter, a Granite Quarry Officer and our Deputies exchanged numerous rounds of gunfire with offender Ronald Green. As a result of this event Mr. Ronald Green lost his life.
The RCSO would like to extend condolences to the family of Mr. Ronald Green. It is never our desire for outcomes to end in this manner. However, we are called upon at times to use force necessary, reasonable, and appropriate for the protection of our community and fellow First Responders.
Our Office has begun an internal investigation of the incident which is separate and apart from the formal investigation done by the State Bureau of Investigations. At this time, I have personally viewed the body camera footage of our Deputies and feel confident that our Deputies conducted themselves in a professional and courageous manner while in the face of life-threatening danger. In my opinion their actions consisted of force necessary, reasonable and appropriate for the deadly encounter.
At this time, our Office would like to release the names of the Deputies that were involved in the active firefight with offender Ronald Green.
Deputy Robert Clement has been with our Office for 11 months. Deputy Clement was wounded in the left hand by what appears to be a pelleted shotgun blast. Deputy Clement sustained his wound and continued his mission by exchanging gunfire with the offender. Deputy Clement gave verbal commands to the offender in attempts to de-escalate the incident. His actions prevent the active shooter from engaging other First Responders on the scene. Deputy Clement was treated on the scene.
Master Deputy Randal Addison was hired by our Office in June of 2015. Master Deputy Addison actively exchanged gunfire with the offender. Master Deputy Addison’s coat and uniform received damage from pelleted shot, but he did not receive a bodily injury. Master Deputy Addison was a driving force behind bringing this horrific incident to an end without further injury to First Responders or residents in the area. Master Deputy Addison gave verbal commands to the offender in attempts to de-escalate the situation. He also directed other Deputies on the scene to organize a response that avoided crossfires and danger to the public and First Responders in the area. His courage and heroic actions also prevent further injury to citizens and First Responders on the Scene.
Master Deputy Nikolas Plumley was hired by our Office in February 2015. Master Deputy Plumley actively engaged the offender with weapons fire. Master Deputy Plumley gave numerous verbal commands to the offender attempting to de-escalate the situation. His actions and professional performance prevented any further innocent neighbors and First Responders from being injured.
Deputy Taylor Warren was hired by our Office in September of 2017. Deputy Taylor was at the back of the residence with the above-mentioned Deputies but was not in a position to exchange fire with the offender. Deputy Warren gave verbal commands to the offender in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. Deputy Warren’s actions prevented any further injury to First Responders and innocent neighbors.
All Deputies involved are being well taken care of and have been offered post-incident support. Rowan County Human Resources has graciously arranged support for the deputies involved in the incident as well as others who were on the scene during this traumatic time.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office will refer information regarding the identity and condition of other First Responders to their agencies.
WCNC Charlotte heard from Green's family members in the wake of the shooting. Green's son, also named Ron, said his father had been facing recent mental health issues. He was next door with his mother when the house caught fire.
"He was going through some depression. That's really all I know," Ron said. "I heard my mom say it was on fire, so I ran next door to try to get him. He didn't want to go. He simply made his choice."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.