Crime & Courts

Inmates charged with assaulting Rowan County deputy

Three inmates were charged Tuesday with assaulting a detention center officer at the Rowan County jail.

Deputy Jamie Travis received cuts to his face, a broken nose and a concussion, according to the arrest reports. Arrest warrants said the inmates repeatedly punched Travis in his head and face.

Capt. John Sifford from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said Travis is expected to make a full recovery.

Khari McClelland, 24, who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of firefighter Marco Kauffman during a burglary last year, was one of the inmates charged with assault.

Kauffman was shot in the head on the morning of Dec. 2 as he and his wife returned home after a Thanksgiving weekend trip.

He was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center after the shooting and battled for his life for nearly three weeks before his family removed him from life support.

Sifford said the three inmates were in the day room of one of the detention center pods for mandated exercise time on Monday while their cells were being searched for contraband.

One of the inmates began beating on the door of a room and saying he needed to go to the bathroom, Sifford said.

When the door was open, all three inmates rushed out, and McClelland struck Travis, Sifford said.

The situation was brought under control when other officers responded.

Quentin Mathis, 31, and Darius Smotherson, 21, were the other two inmates charged with assault.

Mathis and Smotherson were each charged with attempted murder and assault on a law enforcement officer in 2012.

All three inmates were issued a $50,000 secured bond for the incident. Researcher Maria David contributed