SBI Investigates Officer-Involved Shooting Death Monday in Wilkes County


HICKORY -- The State Bureau of Investigation has been requested to investigate the officer-involved shooting of James Monroe Barrett in Wilkes County on Monday. Barrett died in a gunfight with law enforcement that ensued after he shot a deputy and fled the scene.

The officers under investigation in the shooting death of Barrett are: Nathaniel Phillip Wells, an officer with the Wilkesboro Police Department since 2010, who is also a sworn officer with the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office; and Major Victor Karl Hall and Lt. Harold Harper Hartley with the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.

In the initial call at 6 a.m. Monday, Wilkes County Sheriff’s officers responding to a shots fired call involving Barrett at 775 North River Ridge Road were initially shot at by Barrett. At approximately 7:20 am, the SBI Special Response Team and Bomb Squad were requested to assist with retrieving three civilians – ranging in age from 12-70 – from a nearby residence. Wilkes County officers and the SBI were present and attempting to remove the civilians when they were fired upon by Barrett. Barrett, age 60, of 3659 Bethel Road, Jonesville, died at the scene.

The SBI is not releasing further details of the events that led to this incident.  This investigation is ongoing.