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NC deputy ambushed in pipe attack; manhunt underway

Police car lights. (Dan Scanlan/Florida Times-Union/TNS)
July 13, 2023

A Cleveland County Sheriff’s deputy was ambushed Monday by a man with a pipe, prompting a days-long manhunt for the unidentified suspect.

Following the brutal attack in North Carolina, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office posted a statement on Facebook, stating, “At approximately 8am, a Cleveland County Sheriff’s deputy was ambushed on Curt Ledford Road, by a man who struck him with a pipe, when the deputy investigated a suspicious vehicle. A fight ensued and the deputy was injured.”

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office said the injured deputy had been transported to a local hospital and was receiving treatment for “non-life-threatening injuries.” The department also dispelled rumors that had suggested that the deputy had been shot during the ambush.

“He was alert and talking on the scene,” the department said. “His family has been notified. We appreciate our community members’ thoughts and prayers.”

According to Queen City News, the injured deputy has been identified as Administrative Capt. Jody Seagle, who has served with the department for 18 years. Sheriff Alan Norman noted that Seagle noticed a suspicious vehicle located on a dead-end road while he was driving to work.

The deputy was reportedly attacked right after exiting his vehicle to investigate the suspicious vehicle.

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According to Norman, Seagle fired at the suspect in self-defense; however, the sheriff’s office has not confirmed whether the suspect was injured in the incident.

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office described the unidentified suspect as a white male over six feet tall with full-sleeve tattoos and a neck tattoo on his left side. The suspect was seen wearing a white t-shirt, black shorts, and work boots.

The department listed the suspect’s vehicle as either a tan or beige 4-door Buick with a square front end and possible bullet holes on the driver’s side as a result of the fight.

After receiving support from the local community, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office posted an update thanking the public for the “numerous tips” the department had received. The sheriff’s office also noted that the suspect’s neck tattoo is “a poorly done ‘Punisher’ style skull tattoo.”

While the “Punisher” tattoo is noted as the only tattoo on the suspect’s neck, the department said the suspect has “multiple tattoos on both arms.”

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has requested the public to contact its communications center at 704-484-4822 with any information about the suspect.