N.C. fugitive accused of killing officer, arraigned in Rhode Island


COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — A man suspected of gunning down a North Carolina police officer over the weekend was arraigned at Rhode Island State Police headquarters Wednesday night.

Only Eyewitness News was on scene at 2:05 a.m. Wednesday as law enforcement officers took Irving Fenner, 23, into custody on Tiogue Avenue in Coventry.

He was ordered held without bail and will face a judge on Thursday.

Fenner, 23, is accused of fatally shooting Officer Tim Brackeen of the Shelby Police Department on Saturday and had been on the run since.

Police said while Brackeen was attempting to arrest Fenner – who was wanted on outstanding robbery and kidnapping charges – a struggle ensued and gunfire broke out. Brackeen was shot in the chest Saturday and died from his injuries on Monday. The 38-year-old served with the Shelby Police Department for 12 years and in 2012 was named officer of the year. He left behind a wife and a daughter.

Days after the shooting, Fenner was spotted on Oxford Street in Providence Tuesday night, setting off a massive search involving local police, U.S. Marshals, and the FBI. At that point, Fenner eluded police, but they later tracked him down to the home in Coventry.

FBI Special Agent Colin Woods said analysis of Fenner’s cell phone, which authorities seized shortly after the shooting, led them to Rhode Island and eventually to Coventry.

“It’s been a long period of time where the detectives and the FBI agents all cultivating information, pretty good police work tracking him here,” said Rhode Island State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell. “And they surrounded the house and they talked him out, and he surrendered. He came out peacefully.”

When police arrested Fenner his head was shaved. Police told Eyewitness News the suspect had tried to elude capture by altering his appearance.

State Police Major Joseph Philbin said he called the Shelby Police Department in the middle of the night to tell them they had captured Fenner.

“[The dispatcher] had to take a breath because she was emotional,” Philbin said.

O’Donnell said he was glad his officers could deliver that news to Brackeen’s colleagues.

“I’m not sure ecstatic is the right definition because there are mixed emotions. But, there’s some closure that someone’s going to be held responsible for this,” O’Donnell said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

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