An autopsy shows a Lenoir County deputy sheriff, killed in a shootout three months ago, died after his armored vest did not stop a bullet from a high-powered rifle.
Deputy Allen Pearson was shot when an armed man, who was a suspect in a woman's death, opened fire in Tick Bite.
The autopsy, which was obtained by WITN News, says the bullet entered the deputy's left shoulder and caused fatal damage in his chest.
The report from the Brody School of Medicine says "examination of the clothing demonstrated a defect of the shoulder plate of the deputy's tactical vest." But Major Chris Hill says that defect was caused by the bullet. He says the armored vest Pearson was wearing was less than five years old.
Deputy Ryan Dawson was also injured in the shooting, and he returned to work July 1st. Gunman Clarence Douglas Phillips was killed by return gunfire.