Nash sheriff’s office names deputies involved in fatal shooting

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NASHVILLE — Authorities have released the names of three Nash County sheriff’s deputies involved in a man’s fatal shooting Feb. 9 in a rural community outside Bailey.

Sgt. John Winstead, Deputy Stan Ricks and Detective Taylor Neal are the deputies who responded to an early morning 911 call reporting a sexual assault and identifying 28-year-old Jonathan Ramirez as the victim, Chief Deputy Brandon Medina said in a Thursday news release.

The sheriff’s office said Ramirez refused to follow deputies’ instructions and pointed a rifle toward them, at which time the deputies opened fire. Ramirez sustained gunshot wounds and died as a result of his injuries.

Deputies say the incident unfolded on the 1200 block of Maudis Road northeast of Bailey.

A woman who called 911 said Ramirez sexually assaulted her and reported that he had a high-powered rifle and drugs, according to the release. She told dispatchers she was following Ramirez and deputies arrived at the location on Maudis Road where he stopped.

The State Bureau of Investigation and Nash County Sheriff’s Office are conducting parallel investigations into the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Winstead, Ricks and Neal were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol in cases where law enforcement officers use lethal force.

Sheriff Keith Stone previously said he watched body camera video from the encounter and indicated he believes the deputies were justified in firing their weapons.

Winstead is a 16-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, Ricks has been with the agency for 20 years and Neal has been a Nash County deputy for three years following two years at another agency.

“This was the first officer-involved shooting involving the Nash County Sheriff’s Office in a long time and the first during Sheriff Keith Stone’s tenure as the sheriff of Nash County,” Medina said in the release. “Please continue prayers and thoughts for the Ramirez family as well as for our deputies as we continue to cope with this tragic incident.”