Police in Bessemer City, North Carolina, shot a suspect Wednesday morning as he fled. He died en route to the hospital.
Neighbors identified the suspect as Billy Barker in interviews with local station WSOC. Authorities have not released the identity of the victim.
Bessemer City Police told The Daily Beast the officer-involved shooting occurred around 8 a.m. on Wednesday at the corner of N 12th Street and E Iowa Avenue. The officers were were serving felony warrants to Barker and another suspect at Barker’s home on Sunset Lane when he took off running. Officers eventually caught up to the suspect two blocks away—outside an elderly couple’s front lawn.
Bessemer Police said in a press release, “The suspect refused the officers commands and made several attempts to appear he was retrieving something from his waistband.” Police said the officers considered the movements “an imminent threat.”
A police spokesperson said the elderly couple was inside the house during the grisly encounter and were not harmed. No officers were hurt during the incident.
A spokesperson at CaroMont Regional Medical Center confirmed to The Daily Beast the hospital received the patient—and that he was later pronounced dead.
This was not the first time Bessemer Police had shot Barker, neighbor Patricia Grigg told WSOC.
“He said he wasn’t going back to jail. He wasn’t going to prison. They’d have to shoot him first,” Grigg said.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation will conduct a review of the officers’ use of force, and the officers have been placed on administrative leave, standard protocol after a shooting death.