By Beth Lawrence
Sheriff Doug Farmer is pleading with residents to correctly learn the laws concerning protecting their property and to let law enforcement do its job.
The plea comes after an incident last week endangered two teens and sent a local man to jail.
“The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone who suspects a crime is being or has been committed to call 911 and request the assistance of law enforcement,” Farmer said. “Also, we would like to encourage our citizens to familiarize themselves and their families with the ‘use of force’ laws in North Carolina. Working together we can build a safer community.”
On April 26 at 3:30 p.m. deputies responded to a call in the Barkers Creek area for a man with a gun holding two people against their will.
The call ended with the arrest of Donald Keith Forbis, 39, of Whittier, for two felony counts of second-degree kidnapping, three felony counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property, two misdemeanor counts each of assault by pointing a gun and assault with a deadly weapon, and one misdemeanor count of going armed to the terror of the people.
The two people Forbis allegedly detained were two teens who had previously been seen on Forbis’ property and leaving his driveway.
In response to the alleged trespassing, Forbis is believed to have fired at least three shots from a .45 caliber Taurus Judge into a 1997 Toyota Tacoma being driven by the boys. The shots damaged the truck alone, and there was no collateral damage to nearby property or persons.
Farmer called it, “a miracle there were no injuries.”
Forbis is then alleged to have held the teens at gunpoint moving them to several locations within Tuckasegee RV Resort on Thomas Valley Road where Forbis and the boys were located after leaving Barkers Creek.
According to court documents Forbis “did assault (the teens) by pointing a gun at such person without legal justification.”
If convicted, Forbis could face a lengthy prison term.
Second-degree kidnapping is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of 15 to 63 months in prison.
Discharging a weapon into occupied property carries different felony classifications depending on the circumstances. On its own the crime is a Class E felony. If certain elements of the crime are present, it could be elevated to a Class D or C felony.
It becomes a Class D crime carrying a punishment of 38 to 160 months in prison if the property fired into is an occupied residence or an occupied vehicle that is in operation.
It becomes a Class C felony only if someone was seriously injured.
Forbis was held in the Detention Center under a $250,000 secured bond, but is no longer on the jail roster.