A teenager accused of robbing a student of two new PlayStation 3 video game consoles on the day they were introduced was shot to death by police sent to arrest him.
Peyton Strickland, 18, was killed Friday at a house he shared with three roommates, New Hanover County Sheriff Sid Causey said.
"If this boy would've come to the door, opened the door, we probably wouldn't be talking," the sheriff said Sunday.
Roommate Mike Rhoton said Strickland was unarmed but may have been holding a video game controller when he went to the door as it was bashed in by officers.
Authorities promised Monday to investigate the fatal shooting. "No one is above the law and no one is beneath its protection," District Attorney Ben David said. He declined to discuss details.
The State Bureau of Investigation is examining the case, and three deputies were placed on paid leave, standard practice whenever officers fire their weapons, Causey said.
Arrest warrants alleged that Strickland, who is a student at Cape Fear Community College, and a University of North Carolina at Wilmington student stole two PlayStation units from another UNC-Wilmington student.
The sheriff said the robbery victim had waited three days in line to buy two PlayStation 3 units for $641 each at a Wal-Mart. He was unloading the units at his campus apartment when one man beat him to the ground while another took the PlayStations, Causey said.
The sheriff said Strickland was shot by members of a special police unit who went to help university officers serve warrants. He would not say why the special team was assisting.
Strickland's dog, a German shepherd, also was shot to death.
The second man named in the warrants was arrested at another address and was released on bail on Saturday, authorities said.