MORRISVILLE – Charges against a Smithfield police captain, involving an off-duty incident over a handicapped parking space, have been dismissed.
Police Captain Ryan Sheppard was charged in December 2021 with misdemeanor stalking and communicating threats after an incident in the PetSmart parking lot in Morrisville, NC. Captain Sheppard was briefly detained and handcuffed by Morrisville Police before being released at the scene.
Terence Priester said at the time he was sitting alone in his car watching a video as he waited for his wife while she shopped in a nearby store. He claimed a man, identified as Captain Sheppard, began pounding on the driver’s side window questioning why he was parked in a handicapped parking space. Priester said he possessed a valid handicapped parking placard.
In a December interview Priester said, ““I rolled my window down and expressed my frustration in the way he pounded on my window and could have caused damage to my vehicle. In exchange, he said ‘F**k off. I am a police officer.’ I questioned how he had the right to approach my vehicle. He got back in the driver’s side of his vehicle, grabbed a black object that appeared to be a firearm and said ‘f**k off. I will shoot you. Let’s go, let’s go.’”
Morrisville Police said store security video did not show that location in the parking lot. Morrisville Police said Sheppard’s personal vehicle was searched and a gun magazine was found but no firearm. Responding officers did not take out any warrants in the case.
However, Priester later appeared before a Wake County magistrate who issued a criminal summons for stalking and communicating threats against Captain Sheppard. A court date was set for March 18, 2022 in Wake County.
During the March 18 court case, both parties agreed to enter into mediation. Following mediation, the two misdemeanor charges were dismissed and expunged, erasing Mr. Sheppard’s record the charges were ever filed against him.
Reached by telephone this week, Mr. Priester, who is the First Vice President of the African American Caucus of the NC Democratic Party, said he was unable to comment due to the mediation agreement.
Tim Kerigan, Human Resource Director for the Town of Smithfield, said this week the internal investigation conducted by the Town following the December incident has been completed but it is a personnel matter. Mr. Kerigan confirmed Ryan Sheppard remains a police captain and there has been no change in his salary. He does, however, remains on light duty due to medical reasons.