A man who was allegedly squatting in a North Carolina motel sparked a police stand-off that spiraled into tragedy when he allegedly shot the establishment’s owner before turning the gun on himself.
Newport Police Chief Keith Lewis said that just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, authorities received a 911 call regarding a person trespassing on the Hostess House motel in Newport. A “disturbance” was heard in the background of the emergency call, followed by a second call to 911 that a person had been shot at the lodging establishment, the chief said, according to the Carteret County News-Times.
“Within moments, officers arrived on scene,” the chief said.
Both the police department and Carteret County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, and found 46-year-old Satyen Naik, the motel’s owner and manager, suffering from a gunshot wound. Authorities pulled the man, known to locals and friends as “Baca,” from the motel and rushed him to a local hospital, but the man died from his injuries.
Authorities said the motel is a family-owned business.
Meanwhile, the suspected shooter and squatter, identified as 59-year-old Troy Leon Kellum, barricaded himself in a room at the hotel, according to authorities.
“The suspect had barricaded himself in the room,” Lewis said. “Which prompted us to alert the SRT (Special Response Team) team and request their assistance in retrieving the barricaded person from the room.”
Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck told WCTI 12 that authorities confirmed he was barricaded in a room by “pinging” the suspect’s cellphone, and spoke to the man through his friends and negotiators for hours. The suspect, however, refused all police efforts to peacefully leave the room, according to authorities.
Authorities put local schools on “soft lockdowns” amid negotiations, and contemplated shutting down a highway to best protect the public. Kellum was still in possession of a handgun, which he reportedly turned on himself.
Kellum shot himself as members of the police department’s Special Response Team entered the room after hours of failed negotiations, the Carteret County News-Times reported.
Kellum is described as being homeless at the time of his death, though he had a local address on file with authorities. The man had reportedly been squatting at the motel and other buildings in the area.
Authorities said Naik likely discovered Kellum was squatting at the motel on Wednesday morning, prompting the initial 911 call to authorities.
Kellum previously was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses in 2020. North Carolina Department of Adult Correction documents show Kellum was on probation for the offense at the time of his death.