20 Year Anniversary Of Officer’s Death

Clendon-Paul-West-Sr.-FIIt was 20 years ago Friday, Johnston County sheriff’s deputy Clendon Paul West Sr. was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Deputy West was killed on September 11, 1995 when he and Lt. Ronald Medlin were trying to verify an address.  

A 27-year-old father, Deputy West was shot twice and suffered multiple blunt force injuries. Jose Rosado (aka Angel Guevara) was convicted of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and sentenced to death in the slaying.

Lt. Medlin sustained serious injuries. Rosado was convicted for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury for the shooting of Lt. Medlin.  Rosado was tried and found guilty in June 1996.  He received the death penalty for the fatal shooting and 92 to 120 months for the wounding of the second officer.

During the 1996 trial, the convicted felon admitted shooting Deputy West inside a mobile home in the West Johnson Mobile Home Park just off Jackson-King Road in western Johnston County. He testified he shot Deputy West at close range twice, claiming he feared the safety of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son.

The case involving Rosado began Sept. 2, 1995, when a Raleigh security guard spotted three small children locked inside a vehicle with temperatures outside reaching 85 degrees. The officer investigating the incident encountered Rosado who walked up, became belligerent, pulled a knife and repeatedly lunged toward the unarmed officer. The suspect then jumped into the vehicle and sped away.

A license plate check indicated the motorist was José Rosado of Angier, who was wanted on a felony charge of false pretenses and an assault charge.

Lt. Medlin and Deputy West drove to his mobile home on Sept. 11, 1995 where they found the suspect in the back yard. During questioning, the suspect —denying he was José Rosado — presented a passport belonging instead to an Angel Guevara.

There the officers learned the suspect was also wanted for felony reckless endangerment and a sex charge.

When Deputy West returned to question the suspect further, the suspect retreated inside his mobile home.

The deputy pushed the front door open, entering the residence. Lt. Medlin, watching the incident, testified Deputy West held his hands up and pleaded, No, no, don’t” as the suspect fired a fatal bullet into his chest and one to the left groin.

After calling for assistance, the lieutenant received a life-threatening bullet to the right side of his chest. Lt. Medlin survived. His partner did not.  When authorities arrived, they found Deputy West lying face down inside the mobile home, his gun still inside its holster.

The shooter was apprehended several days later, spotted using a payphone at Penn Station in New York City.
Rosado later unsuccessfully appealed his sentencing. His attorneys claimed, “two-thirds of black jurors were excluded at his trial and that many area residents surveyed at the time of his trial said their opinion of him was based on his Hispanic ethnicity.”

Rosado is now 51 and remains on Death Row in Central Prison in Raleigh.   

Family members of Clendon Paul West Sr. have asked local officials for several years to rename a bridge in honor of the fallen officer.  To date, that request has not been granted.