Crime

Gaston County police shoot, kill suicidal veteran

WBTV

Gaston County police fatally shot a man who had called a veterans hotline saying he would kill himself and warned the call-taker not to send help “because it would not end well.”

Police identified the dead man as William Dean Poole, 52, who was killed outside his home on Wedowee Lane.

Gaston County police have not identified the four officers involved in the shooting because they had not been interviewed by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, which is looking into the shooting.

Just after 5 p.m., authorities in Gaston were contacted by the National Veterans Hotline about Poole, who had apparently called the hotline saying he was suicidal.

Poole “advised the reporting person he planned to kill himself and not to send anyone to his residence because it would not end well.”

Gaston Police Chief James Buie told reporters that Poole had also been seen walking around the previous two nights carrying a handgun.

Officers arrived at Poole’s home on Wedowee Lane about 5:25 p.m. and found Poole sitting on a lawn mower.

“Mr. Poole pulled a firearm and discharged multiple times,” Buie said. “The officers returned fire, fatally wounding Mr. Poole.”

The officers weren’t injured.

Besides the SBI’s investigation, Gaston police are conducting an internal investigation to determine whether all policies and procedures were followed.

The fatal shooting was the fourth by officers in Gaston County since Feb. 7. It was the first this year by the Gaston County Police Department, which patrols the county’s unincorporated areas and some small towns. The other shootings were by officers who work for the city of Gastonia.

▪ On Jan. 17, a Gastonia police detective who had stopped at a convenience store shot and seriously injured a convicted murderer who was stabbing a night-shift clerk, investigators said.

Detective Jeff Wooten, wearing his police uniform, had just walked into the store at 310 E. Long Ave. when he saw a man attacking the store clerk with a knife, police said.

▪ On Feb. 7, family members asked officers to check the welfare of Howard Allen, a 74-year-old Army veteran who’d recently undergone heart surgery. Police said they shot him in his Mary Avenue home when he refused to lower his gun.

▪ On Feb. 17, a Gastonia police officer shot and killed Betty Sexton. Police say Dixon had called dispatchers asking officers to help her remove someone from her home. At some point, investigators say, Dixon retrieved a gun and was shot when she didn’t follow officers’ commands to lower it.

Wootson: 704-358-5046;

Twitter: @CleveWootson

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