BESSEMER CITY, N.C. — An investigation is underway following a deadly officer-involved shooting during a brief foot chase Wednesday morning in Bessemer City, officials said.
Gaston County EMS said it responded to a shooting call around 8:30 a.m. on Iowa Avenue and North 12th Street and took a man to CaroMont Regional Medical Center.
Law enforcement authorities told Channel 9 the shooting happened during a foot chase that originated two blocks away on Sunset Lane and ended with gunfire in an elderly couple’s yard.
The suspect who was shot by police died on the way to the hospital, officials told Channel 9.
Officials said the residents, who lived at the property, were inside at the time and were not hurt.
Patricia Grigg said the suspect was Billy Barker, who living behind her home on Sunset Lane.
Police did not confirm his identity by late Wednesday afternoon.
Bessemer City officers were trying to serve arrest warrants on two wanted suspects at the home on Sunset Lane, authorities said in a news release.
Officers identified another person, who was also wanted on outstanding warrants.
Officers said the suspect ran from them when they tried to take him into custody.
They chased him on foot for a short distance. They said they told Barker to stop and show them his hands.
Witnesses heard police telling Barker to “get on the ground, or I’ll shoot.” Police say the suspect refused, and he appeared to try and get something from his waistband several times.
Officers believed Barker was imminent threat and shot him.
Some witnesses told Channel 9 they heard as many as five shots.
A woman, who did not want to be identified, said, “I can’t remember exactly what time, but I heard three shots, “pow, pow, pow.”
Grigg said police shot Barker in the leg on Jan. 21.
Grigg said Barker was holding a BB gun at the time, and she said she will never forget what he told her after that shooting.
“He said he wasn’t going back to jail,” Grigg told Channel 9. “He wasn’t going to prison. They’d have to shoot him first.”
Griggs said police came back to her home again Wednesday morning.
That was when Barker took off, which inevitably led to the deadly officer-involved shooting.
Neighbors described hearing an argument at the home before police arrived.
“I heard some loud noise,” said the woman who did not want to be identified. “People arguing back and forth like they usually do. But it was, it sounded like somebody was getting hurt, or they were screaming at each other.”
No police officers were injured.
Channel 9 crews saw a heavy police presence near the home with crime scene tape roping it off. The State Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene, along with the district attorney.
Two officers have been placed on administrative duty, which is standard protocol anytime an officer discharges their weapon, authorities said.
The SBI is the primary agency in the ongoing investigation.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.
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