City officer charged with gun crimes

By Sarah Willets

January 30, 2014

LUMBERTON — A 26-year-old Lumberton police officer has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault by pointing a gun.

Claudie Lowery, of Pleasant Hope Road, Fairmont, was arrested on Jan. 22 on charges of shooting at his neighbor, Aaron Devonte Mitchell, and pointing a gun at Mitchell’s mother, Ruth Bostic Mitchell, and Mitchell’s brother Billy Dondre Mitchell, on the evening of Jan. 13, according to an arrest warrant.

Lowery was off-duty at the time and no one was injured, according to Erich Hackney, who investigated the case for the District Attorney’s Office. Lowery has been suspended from his job without pay, according to Chief Michael McNeill.

The incidents occurred at Lowery’s house, the Mitchells’ house and a home across the street, Hackney said.

Hackney said there had been “no prior issues between the two residences” and declined to elaborate on what might have prompted the incident. A police report did not provide additional details.

“There are numerous allegations involved in this incident and I think it’s important to remember that Mr. Lowery has only been charged and he is afforded his day in court just like anyone else who has been charged with a criminal offense,” Hackney said.

According to Hackney, Lowery wasn’t arrested until nine days after the investigation began because criminal charges involving law enforcement and school employees require a more extensive inquiry “to determine whether it’s more likely than not the incident occurred” than other cases.

Lowery was placed under a $5,000 unsecured bond. He is scheduled to appear in Lumberton District Court on March 13.