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Conover man charged in shooting of police officer

By Alex Frick
Hickory Daily Record

NEWTON Michael Lee Watson, 40, was arrested Thursday on multiple felony charges stemming from a January incident at his Conover residence in which a police officer was struck in the chest by a gunshot but was saved from injury by a ballistics vest.

Watson was charged with four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and one count of felony obstruction of justice. He was charged the day after the incident with possession of a firearm by a felon and faces additional charges of felony probation violation, habitual felon status and misdemeanor traffic offenses unrelated to the January incident.

Watson’s son, Kenneth Alexander Hewitt, 21, was originally charged with the assaults after he confessed to the shooting, but the charges have since been dismissed, according to a news release from the Hickory Police Department. The change is a result of new evidence obtained from the State Bureau of Investigation.

Hewitt was charged with felony obstruction of justice for giving false statements about his involvement in the incident.

The shooting started when police attempted to execute a search warrant at Watson’s residence at 1544 31st St. Court S.E. on Jan. 21 around 11:30 p.m., according to previous reports. Watson was injured during the shootout but his injuries were not life-threatening.

Hewitt and Watson both made first appearances in District Court in Newton on Friday. Both men requested court-appointed attorneys. They are both scheduled to appear again in court on April 11 in Hickory.

Watson has court appearances scheduled on April 1 for the firearm possession and habitual felon charges and on May 9 for the probation violation charge and traffic offenses.

Watson is being held in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $500,000 secured bond. Hewitt was released from the Catawba County facility after the assault charges were dismissed, and he made bond for the obstruction of justice charge.

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