Off-duty police officer fired after being arrested, charged with murder in Gaston County

Kwaku Riley Agyapon was booked at the Gaston County Jail.
Kwaku Riley Agyapon is being charged with first-degree murder after he shot and killed a man on New Year's Day.
Published: Jan. 1, 2023 at 11:37 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - An off-duty Ranlo police officer has been fired after he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder following a domestic dispute in Gaston County last week.

Kwaku Riley Agyapon, 34, was booked at the Gaston County Jail on Jan. 4.

On Tuesday, the Ranlo Police Department terminated Agyapon from his position as a police officer.

Kwaku Riley Agyapon, 34, was booked at the Gaston County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.
Kwaku Riley Agyapon, 34, was booked at the Gaston County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.(Gaston County Jail)

According to a press release from the Town of Ranlo, the incident happened around 2 a.m. on Sunday, January 1, 2023, on Burlington Avenue, just off Spencer Mountain Road.

Once at the scene, police found that the officer, who was off-duty at the time of the incident, had been stabbed multiple times during a domestic dispute, and had shot and killed the other individual.

The deceased victim was identified as 33-year-old Juan Nikely Avalo.

“It’s definitely difficult when you have a little one next door and stuff like that happens. Shocking,” said next-door neighbor Trevor Tolodziecki.

He notes this isn’t the first time the house has had domestic disputes. He said he’s heard yelling and fighting multiple times coming from that direction.

“I saw the lights and police going like this with the flashlights,” remembered Melisa Herrera, who moved into her new house on the street last week.

“It’s just weird because I practically just moved in here in this neighborhood so it’s a little sketchy.”

The investigation was turned over to the Gaston County Police, who requested the assistance of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).

During the investigation, the SBI obtained a murder warrant against the officer, who has since been identified as 34-year-old Kwaku Riley Agyapon.

He is being held under observation at CaroMont Health in Gastonia due to his injuries, but once he is discharged, will be booked at the Gaston County Jail.

The SBI is continuing to investigate the incident.

WBTV confirmed that Agyapon formerly worked with the Gastonia Police Department from October 2019, until he resigned in April 2022.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated that Agyapon previously worked for the Gaston County Police Department. The story has been updated to reflect that he previously worked with the Gastonia Police Department.

Watch continuing live coverage here: