in the Court of Appeals 17 October 2018.
by Defendant from judgment entered 7 December 2017 by Judge
Anna M. Wagoner in Rowan County, Nos. 16CRS50373, 17CRS702170
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Thomas O. Lawton III, for the State.
& Irons, PA., by Ben G. Irons, II, for the Defendant.
Reine Struddy Augustin appeals from the trial court's
judgment following his guilty plea for carrying a concealed
handgun. Defendant challenges the trial court's denial of
his motion to suppress the gun. We find no error.
arresting officer discovered Defendant carrying a concealed
handgun during a stop. Defendant moved to suppress the
discovery of the gun, contending that the officer did not
have reasonable suspicion to seize Defendant. The findings
the trial court made based on the evidence presented at the
suppression hearing tended to show as follows:
January 2016 at 1:37 a.m., the arresting officer was
patrolling a high-crime area in Salisbury when he saw
Defendant and Ariel Peterson walking together on a sidewalk.
It was snowing, and the officer had not seen anyone else out
on the roads. The officer stopped his car and approached the
two men. Though he was not investigating anything at the
time, the officer was aware of multiple recent crimes in the
area. The officer had prior interactions with Defendant and
knew Defendant lived some distance away.
officer asked Defendant and Mr. Peterson their names.
Initially, Mr. Peterson gave a false name. Defendant did not.
officer asked Defendant and Mr. Peterson where they were
coming from and where they were going. Both Mr. Peterson and
Defendant gave vague answers. Specifically, though both
claimed that they had been at the house of Mr. Peterson's
girlfriend and were walking back to Defendant's home,
they were unable or unwilling to provide the location where
Mr. Peterson's girlfriend lived.
then asked the officer for a ride to his house. The officer
agreed, and the three walked to the rear passenger door of
the patrol car. The officer then informed Defendant and Mr.
Peterson that police procedure required him to search them
prior to allowing them in the patrol car. Up to this point,
Defendant had been polite, cooperative, and courteous.
officer began to frisk Mr. Peterson, Mr. Peterson turned and
quickly ran away. The officer turned to Defendant, who had
begun taking steps away from the officer. The officer
believed that Defendant was about to run away as well, so he
grabbed Defendant's shoulders, placed Defendant face-down
on the ground, and handcuffed him. As the officer rolled
Defendant over to ...