State News

Suspect in Wilkes deputy shooting dies

Posted June 22, 2015 9:58 a.m. EDT
Updated June 22, 2015 5:46 p.m. EDT

— A man suspected of shooting a Wilkes County deputy early Monday has died following an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement, authorities said.

James Monroe Barrett, 60, 3659 Bethel Road in Jonesville, was shot during a shootout with law enforcement in pursuit of him.

Barrett shot a deputy responding to a domestic dispute at about 5:30 a.m., authorities said, and he is also believed to have then set a house on fire before fleeing into the woods.

Sgt. Steven Russell was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem for treatment and was listed in good condition.

State Bureau of Investigation agents, Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Wilkesboro Police Department officers, State Highway Patrol troopers and state Wildlife Resources Commission officers pursued him into the woods and conducted the manhunt that resulted in Barrett’s arrest.

Wilkes County Fire Marshal Kevin Bounds said firefighters couldn't approach the house, where two other people were shot, during the search because of the possibility the gunman was still in the area. Those two wounded people were expected to survive.

Barrett's next-door neighbor, Candy Marion, said it wasn't unusual for him to get into disputes with people.

"He always flips us off when he drives by. He's just crazy," Marion said. "He starts arguments (with) my brother-in-law, yelling back and forth."

Kimberly Martinez, who lives about a quarter-mile away, said she's still in disbelief over the incident.

"We're used to hearing it happen places off from here, not at your doorstep. It's crazy," Martinez said.

The shooting remains under investigation.