A North Carolina man was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Friday for a series of crimes related to the possible shooting of a city police officer. According to the US Department of Justice, Cedric Jamal Kearney, 26, of Henderson has learned he will spend 252 months behind bars for “auto theft and aiding and abetting, gunning for a violent crime and possession of stolen firearms “.
Raleigh NBC affiliate WRAL said it all started when Kearney used his girlfriend and a dating app to lure a man into the hijacking. The TV channel said only the weapon charge was directly linked to the shooting of a Raleigh police officer Charlie ainsworth. The Justice Department’s comments, however, suggest that Kearney and his girlfriend started a multi-day crime spree on January 4, 2019 that culminated in the shooting:
Kearney and a co-accused, Sherry Marie Richmond, stole his car keys and cell phone from a Raleigh man at gunpoint. The wave of crime continued on January 9, 2019, when Kearney and other co-defendants broke into an apartment in Holly Springs, North Carolina, and stole several guns and pairs of shoes. Finally, later on the night of January 9, 2019, the Raleigh Police Department responded to a reported sighting of the stolen vehicle in the Shaub Drive and Teakwood Place area. Upon arrival, officers saw Kearney and another man attempting to get inside the stolen vehicle. The officers gave orders to the men and while one complied, Kearney shot at the officers and fled on foot.
Kearney hit Agent Ainsworth twice, the DOJ said. His story continued:
Ainsworth had to be rushed to WakeMed Hospital with life-threatening injuries, but ultimately survived. Body camera surveillance captured the heartbreaking incident in its entirety. Kearney was found several hours later in a neighboring owner’s shed; still in possession of the weapon used to shoot Officer Ainsworth. Kearney had previously been convicted of reckless driving outside Virginia.
Kearney agreed to plead guilty to federal charges on March 10, 2020. The case against him, however, was stayed in August 2020 because a judge determined that the accused “suffered from a mental illness or defect on making it mentally incompetent ”. and was therefore “incapable of understanding the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him and of properly assisting his defense”. To the judge’s irritation, the government dragged its feet in placing the accused in a treatment center. The plea deal was not fully accepted by the court until Oct. 7, 2021, the record says. The plea agreement document itself appears to be sealed at the time of writing. Law & Crime attempted to post the document to a forensic database, but was unable to do so.
A Raleigh Police Officer shared this photo of Officer Charles Ainsworth, which I think captures his personality better than the official DPR photo used by the media.
Officer Ainsworth is still fighting. Keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/JXhlgiO0cN
– Brian Lewis (@NewFrameInc) January 19, 2019
Durham, NC ABC, affiliated with WTVD, reported that Constable Ainsworth spent about a year recovering from the January 2019 shooting – including undergoing “numerous surgeries and grueling physical therapy” – while on business were pending against four individual defendants accused of playing a role in the officer’s injuries. Ainsworth returned from hospital in April 2019, the WTVD said. WRAL said the officer eventually returned to active duty in early 2020, but a police department tweet said he subsequently retired in March 2020.
Besides Kearney and Richmond, Antonio Dequan Fletcher and Amonie Shateas Fletcher were also arrested and charged in connection with the insanity.
WTVD said Constable Ainsworth was trying to stop Antonio Fletcher when Kearney, then 24, fled and started shooting Ainsworth.
Court records indicate that the Fletcher’s and the Richmond’s also pleaded guilty to the charges against them in federal court. A separate attempted murder case against Kearney is being played out in state court, WRAL said.
Yet federal prosecutors are celebrating their own victory.
“Today was a good day for the Ainsworth family and the justice system. The court has sent a very clear message that this type of assault on law enforcement simply will not be tolerated, ”the interim US prosecutor said. G. Norman Acker III said of the federal sentence.
Read the original federal indictment below:
[Image of Ainsworth via the Raleigh Police Dept. Other images via Wake County Sheriff’s Office mugshots.]
The NC Man post sentenced to decades behind bars in city police officer shooting crime first appeared on Law & Crime.