Former Ranlo police officer accused of murder faces judge

A now-fired Ranlo police officer is in jail three days after investigators said he shot and killed a man during a domestic incident.

Channel 9′s Ken Lemon was inside the Gaston County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon as the officer faced a judge for the first time.

PAST COVERAGE: Off-duty officer charged with murder following domestic dispute in Gaston County

Kawaku “Riley” Agyapon’s mother pleaded with the judge for leniency saying that since kindergarten, her son has dreamed of being a police officer and he wouldn’t run if released from jail.

The judge didn’t give him a bond on the charge of first-degree murder.

The district attorney said Agyapon responded to a domestic dispute call at the home of 33-year-old Juan Avalo back in November.

That was when Agyapon encountered Avalo and his wife for the first time.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Agyapon kept in contact with Avalo’s wife, the prosecutor said.

That led to an argument over the phone between the two men.

“Fighting words were exchanged,” said Travis Page, district attorney. “The defendant drove through Gastonia looking to find Mr. Avalo.”

Page said that on Sunday night, Agyapon, who was not on duty, went to Avalo’s home in Ranlo in his personal car, carrying his service weapon.

The two men got into a fight in the front yard.

Avalo allegedly stabbed Agyapon several times then ran.

Agyapon fired five shots at Avalo who was between 75 and 95 feet away, killing him, Page said.

“I will tell the court that there is no man in this county that is above the law and there is no man below the law, which is why the defendant is in court today,” Page said.

Agyapon’s mother said her son is a compassionate man.

“I say I love my son and I trust my son with my life, and I don’t say that easily,” she said.

The DA said he has already signed an indictment for murder against the officer that will go to the grand jury as soon as possible.

On Dec. 10, the Ranlo Police Department reported that Agyapon was no longer with the department.

VIDEO: Off-duty officer charged with murder following domestic dispute in Gaston County