Suspect accused of killing NC cop, family members face RI judge

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The suspect in the killing of a North Carolina police officer faced a judge in Warwick Thursday morning, as did two of his family members accused of helping to hide him from authorities.

Irving Fenner, 23, is accused of shooting Officer Tim Brackeen of the Shelby, N.C. police department while Fenner was being arrested Saturday on charges related to a home invasion. Thursday, he did not waive a hearing on his extradition to North Carolina, so he will remain in Rhode Island for a few more weeks before he is sent back.

He was ordered held without bail and sent to the ACI until his next hearing.

Police say his half-sister, Jolisa Peeler, drove Fenner from North Carolina to Rhode Island to hide from police during the manhunt. She was arraigned Thursday on charges of being a fugitive from justice in North Carolina; she waived extradition and is being taken back to North Carolina to face charges of accessory to murder after the fact.

Fenner’s uncle, Corry Peeler, is charged with harboring a fugitive. Fenner and Jolisa Peeler ended up going to Corry Peeler’s girlfriend’s apartment on Tiogue Avenue in Coventry, where Fenner was arrested Wednesday morning.

Later on Thursday, Corry Peeler’s girlfriend, Hope Wyman, was set to face a judge herself on charges of harboring a fugitive.

Rhode Island State Col. Steven O’Donnell said his department stands in solidarity with Shelby, N.C. police. Officer Brackeen, 38, had served with the Shelby Police Department for twelve years, and was named Officer of the Year in 2012; he leaves behind a wife and daughter.

“Although Mr. Fenner’s apprehension will not bring back Officer Brackeen, it is our deepest hope that Mr. Fenner’s removal from the streets and his being held accountable for his actions will begin the healing process for the police department and his family,” Col. O’Donnell said Wednesday night.

Brackeen’s father said despite the painful loss of his son, he doesn’t have any ill will against Fenner.

“I would honor the opportunity when this young man comes back to be able to talk with him and to tell him that we forgive him – that there’s no hatred with us as a family,” said Jim Brackeen. “And to have the opportunity, maybe, to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to him.”

Others who knew Brackeen said they are turning to their faith to heal.

“He was a man of God that walked with God, feared God, loved God and knew that he had forgiveness,” said Rev. Stephen Brackeen, the officer’s brother. “And now that is our greatest hope, because of those things, that he has a home in heaven.”

Brackeen’s community is honoring his life at a series of memorial services.

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