Crime & Courts

SBI to investigate Wilkes County officer-involved fatal shooting

The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the officer-involved fatal shooting of James Monroe Barrett in Wilkes County on Monday.

Barrett died in a gunfight with law enforcement officers after he shot a deputy and left the scene, according to an SBI news release Thursday.

Under investigation are Nathaniel Phillip Wells, an officer with the Wilkesboro Police Department since 2010 who also is an officer with the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office; and Maj. Victor Karl Hall and Lt. Harold Harper Hartley with the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.

Wilkes County sheriff’s officers responding to a call of shots fired at 6 a.m. Monday were initially shot at by Barrett, according to the SBI release. The incident happened in the 700 block of North River Ridge Road.

About 7:20 a.m., the SBI Special Response Team and Bomb Squad were asked to help retrieve three people ages 12 to 70 from a nearby home. Wilkes County officers and the SBI were trying to remove the three when Barrett fired on them, according to the release.

Barrett, 60, of Jonesville, died at the scene.

The SBI said it will release no further details of the events that led to the incident, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak