UPDATE: Victim, officer's, names released in fatal Monday night shooting
Last modified: Nov. 28
Wednesday morning, Ashe County Sheriff James Williams released the names of three deputies, and a member of the West Jefferson Police Department that were involved in an incident late Monday night that claimed the life of Laurel Springs resident Walter Mark Houck.
ACSO Deputies Joshua Hopkins, Brandon Howell, and Jeremy Munday, in addition to WJPD Officer Jake Howell, responded to a report of a shooting from at 543 Gaither Poe Road in Laurel Springs shortly after 11 p.m. on Nov. 19, according to ACSO Capt. Carolyn Gentry.
At the scene, officers found Houck, 47, armed with a high-powered rifle and scope, according to Gentry, who said the officers identified themselves and ordered Houck to put down his weapon.
Houck refused, pointed the weapon at the officers who then opened fire and killed him.
When asked how many shots were fired at Houck, Williams said "Multiple (shots) both ways," and said the NC SBI is continuing its investigation into the shooting.
The names of all involved were withheld until Wednesday morning, until Houck's next of kin was notified, according to Gentry.
All officers were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the completion of the investigation being conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
In a statement released Nov. 21, Ashe County Sheriff James Williams expressed his "complete confidence in all the officers involved," and said he was "satisfied they followed department policy and their training protocols."
"Our hearts go out to the victim's family," said Williams, "as well as to our officers and departments involved."