Cleveland County, NC – A manhunt is underway for a tattooed suspect who bludgeoned an unsuspecting deputy in the head with a piece of rebar during a vicious, unprovoked attack on Monday.
The incident occurred on Curt Ledford Road at approximately 8 a.m. on July 10, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
CCSO Captain Jody Seagle was on his way to work in an unmarked patrol vehicle when he spotted a vehicle parked on the dead-end road, according to Queen City News.
Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman said the vehicle, which was empty, was on the side of a private drive that led to nowhere in a very rural section of the county, WSOC reported.
The uniformed deputy was getting out his patrol vehicle and had just one foot on the ground when an attacker ambushed him from behind and smashed him in the head with a piece of rebar, according to police.
Police said the suspect beat the injured captain with the metal rod, hitting him repeatedly as Capt. Seagle fought for his life, WSOC reported.
The brawl ultimately moved between the patrol car and the suspect vehicle, at which point the suspect was able to break away.
He left Capt. Seagle on the ground and jumped behind the wheel of the suspect vehicle, according to police.
Chief Norman said the captain feared the violent assailant was about to run him over, so he fired at him four or five times, WSOC reported.
It is unknown if the suspect was hit by the deputy’s gunfire.
The assailant fled the scene in a tan, four-door Buick with a “square front end,” the CCSO said.
He was last seen heading northbound on Curt Ledford Road towards Old N.C. Highway 18, The Shelby Star reported.
The CCSO released a sketch of the suspect on Tuesday.
He was described as a white male in his 30s who is more than six feet tall with full-sleeve tattoos on both arms and a “poorly done ‘Punisher’ style skull tattoo” on his neck, the sheriff’s office said in an update.
He was last seen wearing a white shirt, black shorts, and work boots, according to the CCSO.
Capt. Seagle was able to contact the sheriff’s office after the ambush and deputies arrived at his location a short while later, The Shelby Star reported.
The captain was transported to a local hospital, where he remained on Tuesday morning, Sheriff Norman confirmed.
The 18-year department veteran is expected to recover, Queen City News reported.
“This was an unprovoked, vicious assault,” Chief Norman said. “By the grace of God, he’s still with us today. It could have easily been life-ending.”
The CCSO urged anyone with information about the incident to contact police immediately.
“We’ve been inundated,” Sheriff Norman told The Shelby Star. “The public has been overwhelmingly supportive with a lot of information that has come to the Sheriff’s Office. We’re running all the leads down. We just ask if you have any idea, even the smallest thing that you may not think is important because that may be the thing that puts away this dangerous person.”