SPRING LAKE, NC (WNCN) — On Saturday night, dozens remembered a Harnett County dad who was fatally shot by a deputy nearly a week ago.
John Livingston, 33, the father of three school-age children, was shot at least three times when deputies came to his Spring Lake home around 3:30 a.m. early Sunday looking for someone involved in an assault case, witnesses and officials say.
During the incident, Livingston either had his hand on a deputy’s Taser — or managed to pick the stun-gun off the ground and shock the deputy — and was then shot by a deputy, according to court documents and witnesses.
He died around 4 a.m. on the front porch of his home.
The vigil started at 7 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Stage Road and Everett Street in Spring Lake and more than 30 people showed up. The family requested that no protesting take place at the vigil.
“He’d give you anything he [could] to make sure that you’re comfortable. I really wish we’d all have to meet here for this reason and everything but it makes me feel good to know that you all cared about him as much as he cared about you all,” a friend of Livingston’s said as dozens of candles lit the darkness near the trailer where Livingston died.
Another friend said: “He was the first one to put out his hand and say ‘It’s okay I’m a friend.'”
The morning of the shooting, Livingston and his roommate, Clayton Carroll, told authorities, who did not have a search warrant, that the man deputies wanted did not live at the home on Everett Street.
Livingston then told authorities to leave, adding that they couldn’t come in without a search warrant, Carroll said.
But during that incident, authorities claim Livingston shut the door on a deputy’s foot, which sparked an altercation between Livingston and deputy Nicholas Kehagais.
Carroll said that deputies kicked open the door, but officials disagree.
In court documents, authorities say Kehagais dropped his stun gun and Livingston picked it up and shocked the deputy which led to Kehagais shooting Livingston at least three times.
Witnesses said Livingston was not fighting back and was trying to get the Taser out of the deputy’s hands.
“He (Livingston) barely had the Taser in his hand but he had it where it was constantly going off and the officer I guess that spoke to him rolled over there, says he got the Taser and shot him in this position,” Carroll said while on the deck outside the home demonstrating what happened.
Friends of Livingston, who said that he was shot between four and six times, comforted him as he died on the front porch around 4 a.m.
The “last thing he told me is he’d be coming back, he was leaving my house going over there and said he’d be back,” said the victim’s son, John Livingston III.
Livingston’s friends call him a very kind man and an incredible carpenter, they say he built the front porch deck — on which he died — a month ago for everyone to have a good time on.
Back home, Livingston’s oldest son is struggling to cope with the sudden loss.
“He wasn’t just a dad he was a best friend, we always talked about everything,” Livingston said.
As the family awaits autopsy results, they’re hoping justice will be served.
“This police officer is at home, he gets to sleep at night, I don’t get to sleep,” Livingston’s mother Kathy said.
Meanwhile, Carroll said Kehagais never dropped the stun gun and Livingston was shot as he was struggling with the deputy for the stun gun.
“He did not drop the Taser, the officer never dropped the Taser,” Carroll said.
Affidavits on Tuesday confirm that deputies never had a search warrant when they first visited Livingston’s home early Sunday.
Later Sunday morning — nearly six hours after Livingston’s death — a search warrant was obtained and executed for the house, the documents say.
Earlier on Saturday, a BBQ fundraiser was held for Livingston at 126 Evans St. in Spring Lake.
All funds will be used for Livinston’s funeral. Donations can also be made at: http://www.donationto.com/John-Livingston-Funeral-Expenses
All donations that are not used for Livington’s funeral expenses will be placed into a trust for his three children, organizers of the events say.