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Alexander deputy kills man armed with ax

A man who police say was wielding an ax was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy in Alexander County late Sunday.

According to the Alexander Sheriff's Office, William Frederick Ippolito, 47, was shot and killed at his home off Sulphur Springs Road after he charged at a deputy with the ax.

Deputies said they were called to the home because of a domestic situation. Ippolito had recently separated from his wife, and she had been staying with a friend, Sheriff Chris Bowman told the Hickory Daily Record.

As the deputies were investigating. Ippolito came at one of them with an ax, according to the sheriff.

"He lunged toward the officers with the ax drawn back," Bowman said. "The officer had to discharge his weapon to defend himself from the ax. They were about to be hit with it."

Ippolito was taken to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries. An autopsy was to be performed at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The deputy involved in the shooting was placed on paid administrative leave until the State Bureau of Investigation concludes an investigation, a standard procedure.

Ippolito has a history of confrontations with police officers. In the mid-1990s, Ippolito spent nearly 11 months in a New Jersey prison for fleeing to elude officers. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and obstructing a police officer with violence, felonies for which he was sentenced to 30 months in jail.

Staff researcher Maria David contributed.