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Illegal Immigrants Arrested For Murder Of Wake County Deputy Were Deer Hunting When Confrontation Occurred, Police Say

Wake County, NC – One of the illegal immigrants charged with the murder of Wake County Deputy Ned Byrd allegedly told police that the veteran deputy was shot after he stopped to check on their vehicle while they were going out deer hunting, according to investigators.

Deputy Byrd, 48, was fatally shot while out on patrol on the night of Aug. 11.

He suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the deadly attack, including at least one to the back of his head, The News & Observer reported.

The alleged gunmen, brothers Arturo Marin-Sotelo, 29, and Alder Marin-Sotelo, 25, were arrested in Burke County on Aug. 16 and were subsequently charged with Deputy Byrd’s murder, WTVD reported.

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also placed detainers on the suspects for being in the country illegally, but concerns have been raised regarding whether or not Wake County will honor those detainers due to its status as a sanctuary jurisdiction, Breitbart reported.

Additional details regarding the fatal shooting were made public for the first time this week following the release of approximately 30 search warrants tied to the case, according to The News & Observer.

Police said Deputy Byrd was out on patrol on Battle Bridge Road in a rural area of Wake County when he spotted a suspicious truck parked on the side of the roadway shortly after 11 p.m.

Security footage from a nearby Marathon gas station showed the deputy pulling his patrol vehicle up to the pickup just before a flashlight out in the middle of a field bordering the road shut off, The News & Observer reported.

Deputy Byrd got out of his SUV with his flashlight.

Three rapid-fire gunshots rang out approximately 13 seconds later, followed by three more, according to court documents.

The suspects’ pickup drove off at 11:09 p.m.

Officers began searching for Deputy Byrd after he failed to respond to his dispatcher later that night, The News & Observer reported.

He was ultimately found lying dead in the grass at about 1 a.m. on Aug. 12 – roughly two hours after the fatal shooting occurred.

His partner, K9 Sasha, was unharmed and sitting alone in their patrol SUV.

The North Carolina Bureau of Investigation (NCBI), the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and multiple other law enforcement agencies quickly combined forces to assist the Wake County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) in identifying and apprehending Deputy Byrd’s killers.

They were granted permission to gather and analyze 30 days’ worth of cell phone data from a tower near the location of the shooting, and ultimately narrowed the focus down to two phones that communicated more than 40 times on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, The News & Observer reported.

Those phones were connected to the Marin-Sotelo brothers, according to police.

Investigators tracked the suspects’ phones and whereabouts before stopping them on Interstate 40 in Burke County shortly after 3 p.m. on Aug. 16, The News & Observer reported.

Police said they located two Ak-47 rifles, five loaded AK-47 magazines, a loaded 9mm firearm, and a bag containing a white substance when they searched the brothers’ vehicles.

According to court documents, Arturo Marin-Sotelo told investigators that he and his brother had driven out to Battle Bridge Road on Aug. 11 so they could go hunt deer in the field near the road, The News & Observer reported.

Arturo Marin-Sotelo allegedly told police he left his brother with the pickup while he headed out into the field.

He noticed the blue lights of a patrol vehicle near the truck a short while later, then heard gunshots, according to court documents.

Arturo Marin Sotelo said he saw the pickup leaving the area, so he called his brother, The News & Observer reported.

“Alder Marin stated that a police officer had just been shot,” the warrant stated.

According to court documents, Alder Marin-Sotelo had previously been charged with possession of a firearm by an illegal alien in July of 2021, but that case was dismissed with leave after he failed to show up at court on two occasions, The News & Observer reported.

According to federal court documents, the suspects’ younger brother, 18-year-old Rolando Marin-Sotelo, was pulled over for driving a vehicle with a fictitious tag and illegal tint in the wake of the shooting.

A Forsyth County sheriff’s deputy also located two boxes of 9mm bullets on the passenger floorboard of the car, resulting in Rolando Marin-Sotelo being charged federally for possession of ammunition by an illegal alien, The News & Observer reported.

He allegedly told investigators that he recently sold a pickup truck after Arturo Morin-Sotelo offered to pay him $300 to do so.

According to the warrant, investigators said they believe the truck that was sold was the same vehicle seen in the security footage from the Marathon gas station.

According to ICE, all three of the Morin-Sotelo brothers are illegal immigrants from Mexico who entered the U.S. illegally over the southern border, Breitbart reported.

Arturo Marin-Sotelo was apprehended near Naco, Arizona, in June of 2010 and was returned to Mexico, but he again illegally crossed the border into the U.S. sometime later.

Rolando Morin-Sotelo was first apprehended near the southern border near Douglas, Arizona, in 2019, Breitbart reported.

He was identified as an unaccompanied alien child and was returned to Mexico.

But Rolando Morin-Sotelo crossed the border illegally again just two months later near Brownsville, Texas.

He was released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with a notice to appear in immigration court with a hearing date of April, 2023, Breitbart reported.

Deputy Byrd, a U.S. Air Force veteran, served the WCSO for 13 years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

His longtime friend, Jason Culbreth, said Deputy Byrd was “the best friend you could ask for,” The News & Observer reported.

Culbreth said he and Deputy Byrd met at a jiu jitsu class 20 years ago.

“He was really a terrific human being. Just the best,” he told The News & Observer. “He was always putting himself out there to help anybody. If he could help you, he would. And if he couldn’t help you, he would find somebody who would. If the world had more people like Ned, the world wouldn’t be as crazy of a place as it is.”

Deputy Byrd served as a WCSO detention officer before he began working as a sworn deputy in 2018, Culbreth said.

“(Byrd) was the true definition of what it meant to serve others,” another longtime friend, Joel Schlieman, told The News & Observer. “He was the first person to show up and help, even when he wasn’t asked. He just did it because that’s the kind of guy he was. I think that’s what he was doing when he was working.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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