An Army special operations soldier based at Fort Liberty, N.C., fatally shot a Chechen man outside his North Carolina home earlier this month, service and law enforcement officials said.

An Army special operations soldier based at Fort Liberty, N.C., fatally shot a Chechen man outside his North Carolina home earlier this month, service and law enforcement officials said. (Corey Dickstein/Stars and Stripes)

An Army special operations soldier who fatally shot a man outside his North Carolina home earlier this month has not been charged with a crime amid an ongoing investigation, Army and law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

The soldier shot 35-year-old Ramzan Daraev at about 8:15 p.m. on May 3 after reporting a trespasser on the property in Carthage, N.C., according to the Moore County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies responding to the call found Daraev, a native of Chechnya in Russia, dead of multiple gunshot wounds, according to sheriff’s department officials.

The soldier’s name has not been made public. Army Special Operations Command confirmed Tuesday that the soldier was a member of the elite organization and based at Fort Liberty, N.C. A spokeswoman for the command declined to provide additional information, citing the ongoing investigation. Carthage is about 35 miles northwest of Fort Liberty.

The soldier who shot Daraev and others interviewed after the incident were all cooperating in the investigation, the sheriff’s department said.

It was unclear Tuesday what led to the deadly incident. Moore County deputies were responding to a call of an intruder on the soldier’s property who was reportedly taking photographs and who became aggressive to another resident at the soldier’s home when confronted, according to the sheriff’s department.

Sheriff’s deputies were told Daraev was a subcontractor for a local utility company and was working on that job when he was confronted and killed. The sheriff’s department said it was still working Tuesday to confirm Daraev’s employment status.

Daraev’s body was found by deputies about 250 yards from the road near a power line on the soldier’s property. He did not have any identification on his body, nor was he wearing utility company clothing or in possession of utility equipment or tools, according to the sheriff’s office.

Family members and “an international identification” found in his vehicle were used to identify Daraev, sheriff’s officials said.

After the shooting, Moore County deputies called in an FBI special agent who supplied a translator to speak to others who claimed to be Daraev’s coworkers. An FBI spokesperson said the bureau was not currently involved in the investigation.

“The local investigation has not uncovered evidence of a federal crime,” the spokesperson said Tuesday. “The FBI is in regular contact with sheriff’s office investigators and are prepared to investigate if a federal matter comes to light.”

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division was helping the Moore County Sheriff’s Department in the investigation, but it could not provide additional information Tuesday, according to a CID statement.

Members of Daraev’s family, meanwhile, have launched a petition to see the soldier who shot Daraev charged in his death. In a petition to the Justice Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the family accused the unnamed soldier of killing Daraev “in cold blood.”

Daraev, his family members wrote, was unarmed and unaggressive and photographing his completed work when he was approached by the soldier. They claimed he was shot at least four times, including in his hand, his back and his face.

“Ramzan left Russia not realizing that the greatest injustice against him would be done in a free country, where, in theory, he should have received protection,” Daraev’s family wrote in the petition, which had received more than 11,600 signatures by Tuesday.

Moore County deputies said the probe was continuing, and they had not ruled out charging the soldier.

“Once all facts have been collected and reviewed, the case will be presented to the district attorney’s office for a determination on whether criminal charges will be pursued,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement. “The Moore County Sheriff’s Office is committed to conducting a thorough and impartial investigation.”

author picture
Corey Dickstein covers the military in the U.S. southeast. He joined the Stars and Stripes staff in 2015 and covered the Pentagon for more than five years. He previously covered the military for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. Dickstein holds a journalism degree from Georgia College & State University and has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his reporting and photography. He is based in Atlanta.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now