Hickory – On Monday, February 17, 2020 at approximately 10:30 a.m. Hickory Police Officers responded to the Red Roof Inn, located at 1184 Lenoir Rhyne Blvd SE, after receiving information about an individual in a white vehicle that was in possession of methamphetamine and a gun. Upon arrival, officers located an unoccupied white vehicle with an assault rifle clearly visible between the front seats.
After canvassing several hotel rooms, officers returned and noticed a male and female standing next to the white vehicle. According to preliminary statements, as officers approached and gave commands, the male subject struck an officer and fled. Officers pursued and attempted to take him into custody, during which time a Taser was deployed. After the struggle to get the subject into custody, the subject became unresponsive. Officers immediately began CPR and called for EMS. Catawba County EMS responded to the scene where the subject was pronounced deceased.
Hickory Police Department immediately requested the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation. The officers involved were Master Police Officer Landen Whitener and Police Officer Alex Weaver. As part of standard procedure, they have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation. One officer received minor injuries as a result of the incident.
The deceased subject was identified as Matthew D. Saunders; w/m/41 of Lincolnton, NC. It was later determined that Saunders was wanted by the U.S. Marshall Service as a federal probation absconder.
Britton Metcalf; w/f/32 of Morganton, NC was arrested and charged with Possession of Firearm by Felon during this incident.
No further information can be released at this time as this is a continuing investigation.