Investigators walk to a home where a man was shot and killed Jan. 9 to execute a search warrant.

Search warrants filed in a shooting that was ruled self-defense reveal the moments leading up to the shooting.

Leonard Evan Loehr, 42, was found dead at a home on Skyland Drive after a reported self-defense shooting Jan. 9, according to previous News Herald articles.

Sheriff Steve Whisenant told The News Herald in January that Loehr and another man, who was at the home to help him move, had gotten into a struggle for a shotgun in the house when the man pulled his own gun and shot Loehr.

It originally was reported that only one shot was fired, but Whisenant clarified to The News Herald on Thursday that he meant only one shot was fired that hit Loehr.

“The shooter struggled with the deceased over a gun,” Whisenant said Thursday. “The weapon discharged without striking either party. The shooter then pulled his own weapon and fired one shot, striking and killing the now deceased.”

The shooter told authorities Loehr contacted him on Facebook Messenger in the early-morning hours of Jan. 9 to ask for help moving out of the home he had been staying at with his girlfriend, according to the search warrants.

The shooter said he told Loehr he would bring a friend with him to help with moving larger items, like a washer and dryer Loehr wanted moved, the warrants said.

When the men arrived at the home Loehr was moving out of, he was on the front porch, the shooter said according to the warrants. The shooter said they followed Loehr inside the house and that Loehr and the woman the shooter believed Loehr was dating started arguing.

Loehr spoke to the shooter and his friend about what needed to be moved, and the friend went down the hallway to start unhooking the washer and dryer Loehr wanted moved, the search warrants said.

Once the friend started down the hallway, Loehr pulled a shotgun out from under the couch and asked the shooter to hold on to it “before he killed someone,” according to the search warrants.

When the shooter started toward the front door, Loehr started throwing boxes, the shooter told investigators. He said that Loehr and his girlfriend started arguing about Loehr taking the washer and dryer.

That’s when the shooter said Loehr tried to take the shotgun back from him, according to the search warrants. The shooter told investigators he was afraid to let Loehr have the gun because he was afraid Loehr would shoot him.

The shooter told investigators he and Loehr wrestled over the shotgun before the shooter told Loehr he was going to shoot, the search warrants said.

The shooter said he pulled the trigger and fired a round into the kitchen stove, the warrants said. He then let go of the shotgun, pulled his own pistol and shot at Loehr, hitting him in the chest area.

After that, the shooter said he grabbed the shotgun to keep it away from Loehr, and he and his friend ran to his truck and drove away, the search warrants said.

Inside the truck, the shooter said he immediately called 911 and drove to Mull Elementary to wait for deputies to arrive, the search warrants said.

When the shooter called 911, he told dispatchers that “he pulled a shotgun on me, I tried to restrain him, and then he pointed the shotgun at me and I shot him with my Glock,” the search warrants said.

When deputies arrived, they found Loehr on the kitchen floor with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. Loehr did not have a pulse but still was making some movements, so deputies attempted to revive him with CPR, the search warrants said.

Once Burke County EMS arrived, they continued lifesaving measures but were unsuccessful and pronounced Loehr dead at the scene, according to the search warrants.

Deputies also obtained a statement from Loehr’s apparent girlfriend, but said in the search warrants that she was “clearly intoxicated” and that her statement was “very incoherent.”

The investigation continued, with investigators using the search warrants to collect evidence in the shooting.

According to the search warrants filed, investigators collected a 9 mm shell casing, projectile and LG cellphone from the scene of the shooting. From the shooter’s truck, investigators collected a Glock 43 9 mm loaded with five rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber, a spare magazine for the Glock 43 with five rounds and a 20-gauge Mossberg model 505 pump shotgun loaded with one spent shell casing in the chamber and two unspent shells in the tube.

Almost two weeks after the shooting, the district attorney’s office announced no charges would be pressed related to Loehr’s death.

On Jan. 22, District Attorney Scott Reilly’s office ruled the shooting an act of self-defense and said that no charges would be filed in the shooting, according to a previous News Herald article.

Chrissy Murphy can be reached at cmurphy@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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(1) comment


Yeah, don’t sound suspicious to me either. Something strange when the News Herald refuses to print the “shooter’s name and whether he had any previous offenses. Shooter’s got to be related to a law enforcement official or politician! News Herald has historically printed everyone’s name in paper except children & rape victims by law, something fishy about this one!

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