Murder suspect was fired by Greenville Fire-Rescue
The Wilson Times
Thursday, February 16, 2017
WILSON — Brian Christopher Buchanan was fired from the Greenville Fire-Rescue Department less than a month before he was charged in his infant son’s death, according to City of Greenville personnel records.
On Feb. 6 at 9:30 a.m., Wilson police and EMS responded to 3711-B Kimberly Drive in reference to an unresponsive 4-month-old, according to police. The baby was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he died two days later.
Officials ruled the death as a homicide after an autopsy was performed on the baby, police said. Buchanan was subsequently arrested and charged.
Officials have not released the cause of death.
Buchanan, clad in an orange jumpsuit, appeared before Chief District Court Judge William C. Farris during his first court appearance on the child death charges Monday.
Farris explained the charges to Buchanan, who appeared overwhelmed. Farris said he would be sending information on the case to the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services in Durham, which will appoint two attorneys. Defendants who face a first-degree murder charge are entitled to two attorneys to represent them in the case.
Farris asked Buchanan if he had any questions.
“Would it be possible for me to have a bond set?” Buchanan asked.
Farris said that would be the next step after attorneys are appointed.
Buchanan’s next court date is slated for Feb. 27, when a hearing will be held to see if there is enough evidence for the case to move forward, which is standard procedure. Farris said bond could be addressed at that time.
Buchanan is in the Wilson County Jail without bond.
Buchanan was fired on Jan. 20 after he was found in violation of the city’s personnel polices and Greenville Fire/Rescue rules and regulations, according to documents obtained by The Wilson Times through a public records request.
Wilson police arrested and charged 30-year-old Buchanan with first-degree murder and felony child abuse with serious physical injury after his 4-month-old son, Rylan James Buchanan, died Wednesday.
Buchanan, whose job is listed as fire officer, was hired by the Greenville Fire/Rescue Department in January 2014.
On Jan. 11 of this year, Buchanan was found by his supervisor in a “private vehicle on city property behind Station 5 in the company of another with the individuals’ pants and undergarments removed” while he was on duty, according to personnel records.
This was the second “very serious incident of detrimental personal conduct,” according the city’s decision on disciplinary action memorandum.
The memo alleges that on April 28 and June 6, Buchanan accessed a medication dispensing system at “Vidant Medical Center and removed more medication” than he reported.
Officials allege in the document that “his actions resulted in two major discrepancies involving diphenhydramine.” The antihistamine is the active ingredient in Benadryl.
The alleged medication incident led to a “disciplinary suspension” from the department for five consecutive work days and placement on disciplinary probation for one year, according to personnel records.
The Jan. 11 incident combined with the others led to his termination from the department last month. He was given the right to appeal the decision in accordance with the city’s grievance procedure.
The Wilson Times requested Buchanan’s employment records under a provision in state law that requires government agencies to disclose certain personnel documents, including copies of dismissal letters. Employees’ salary, hire date and information on promotions, demotions, disciplinary actions and firings are considered public record in North Carolina.