GASTON COUNTY – A veteran was shot and killed by police Monday after he fired his weapon at them, Gaston County authorities said.
The shooting happened on Wedowee Lane.
Police Chief James Buie addressed the media Monday night, calling it an “unfortunate situation.”
Buie said Gaston County Communications received a call from the National Veterans Hotline concerning a suicidal man at 5:08 p.m.
Police said William Dean Poole, 52, had told the hotline he planned to kill himself and not to send anyone to his home because it would not end well.
On the call from the suicide hotline, Channel 9 obtained Tuesday, Poole said he was upset his doctor had cut off his prescription painkillers.
When officers arrived at about 5:25 p.m., Buie said Poole was sitting on a lawnmower and fired multiple shots at police first.
The officers returned fire, killing Poole.
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The four officers involved in the shooting were not injured, police said.
Robert Hinson, Poole’s son-in-law, said he had just hung up the phone with him moments before the shooting. Hinson lives a few houses down and said he didn’t notice anything unusual on the phone call.
“Next thing I heard I’m hearing, ‘boom, boom, boom,’ and it sounded like the Fourth of July went off,” said Hinson.
Hinson said Poole suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from his time serving in the Navy. However, he said Poole was never violent.
“He’s never tried to hurt anybody. I mean if somebody asked him for help he was there to do it,” Hinson said.
The four officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, per protocol.
The State Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation.