Just before midnight on Sunday, deputies with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of vandalism at an address of Mashburn White Road on Pheasant Drive. The call that came into dispatch reported that neighbors were involved in a dispute and the caller informed dispatch that a neighbor has placed boards with nails in them across the caller’s driveway and that residents and their guests were unable to leave the residence because of the boards.
Macon County Sheriff Deputy Anthony Momphard arrived on scene within 13 minutes, and within 20 minutes of the original call being placed to dispatch, shots were reported fired.
Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland said that Deputy Momphard arrived at approximately 11:55 p.m. and began interviewing the original caller and involved parties. While conducting the investigation, Momphard was confronted by an armed suspect. The deputy gave repeated commands to drop the weapon. The suspect took aggressive action toward the deputy, prompting the deputy to discharge his weapon in self-defense, which struck and killed the suspect. The deceased has been identified as Michael Scott Knibbs, of Franklin. Knibbs was the neighbor who allegedly placed the boards that were covered in nails in the neighbor’s driveway which led to the original 911 call.
“Upon my arrival and after checking on my officers and reviewing the scene, I contacted and requested the assistance of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a full investigation into the incident,” said Sheriff Robert Holland. “Because this is an SBI investigation, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office is not in the position to disclose any additional information until the conclusion of the SBI investigation and subsequent review by the District Attorney’s Office.”
The initial SBI investigation retrieved Deputy Momphard’s service weapon, which was reportedly fired six times. The investigation also retrieved a shotgun from the scene as well as shotgun casings.
A review of 911 dispatch calls over the last six months, showed that 911 had not been called or dispatched to any of the residences involved in the incident prior to Sunday night.
Deputy Momphard was hired with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in October 2017 after serving in the United States Military from 2008 to 2016. While in the Marines, Momphard served as a Sergeant and completed two tours in Afghanistan. As procedure dictates, Deputy Momphard is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the SBI investigation.
Tuesday night, Knibbs’ family released a statement through Melrose Law, the law firm they hired to represent them during the investigation. According to the release, Knibbs’ family disputes the details of the investigation that have been made public up until this point and hope to be able to disprove them in court.
Based on the press release, Knibbs was at home with his wife, 13-year-old-son, his 22-year-old daughter, and his 5 month old grandson during the time of the incident. The family has owned the home where the incident took place for five years. The report said that “earlier in the evening Knibbs told a man who had pulled into the Knibbs’ driveway looking for a house party next door to leave and not return. Around midnight a man’s voice was heard yelling from the front of their home.”
The release stated that there was no patrol car parked outside the Knibbs home, no blue lights, and no advance warning “that a rookie police officer was approaching their home.”
The release goes on to say that because Knibbs was concerned for the safety of his family, he retrieved the shotgun he kept in the bedroom for self-defense. The family’s account of the incident says Knibbs then went to the front door of his residence to see who was yelling. “The man yelled demands from outside on the porch. Seconds later, the deputy fired multiple shots from outside of the Knibbs home, through a front window” which struck Knibbs. The release also claims that the deputy did not render first-aid while he awaited backup from other officers and EMS.
The family’s statement also says that the initial reports of boards being placed in the road with nails was false, and rather, the boards were speed bumps placed in the common roadway to slow visitors down as they passed the Knibbs home due to the children who played in the front yard.
The family’s statement says they are fully investigating the incident themselves and have several questions involving the incident and why it ended in the death of Knibbs.