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One Leland detective fired, two more resign during investigations

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By Sam Hickman

 A Leland Police Department detective has been fired and two more have resigned amid state and internal affairs investigations.

Cpl. Richard Christopher was terminated, effective Aug. 25, and two others, Sgt. Patrick McGowan and Ryan O’Connor, submitted letters of resignation last week, town manager David Hollis said in a telephone interview with the Beacon.

McGowan was suspended without pay earlier in August as a result of a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation probe regarding missing evidence, according to a news release from police department. Hollis said town officials asked the SBI to assist with an investigation involving Christopher and McGowan and missing evidence.

O’Connor was suspended without pay as a result of a separate internal affairs investigation.

McGowan was hired in March 2007 and O’Conner in October 2009.

The police department has four other detectives, Hollis said.

The SBI investigation is ongoing until the town receives a report from the state, Hollis said.

He said the town did not want to make a statement about the matters at this time.

“We want to wait until we get a report back (from the SBI) before we say anything, but we will when it’s time,” Hollis added.

Police Chief Mike James did return phone calls seeking comment on the termination or resignations.

 

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.