The District Attorney’s Office has released a statement concluding that Hickory Police Officers acted lawfully when they fatally shot 33-year-old William David Whetstone at his residence on 12th Street Place N.W. in Hickory on February 3 of this year.
According to the D.A.’s statement, Whetstone was involved in the sale of narcotics in the days prior to the shooting and was the target of an ongoing investigation, leading to the issuance of what was described as a high-risk search warrant. Because Police knew Whetstone had firearms in the house, the search warrant was served by the H.P.D.’s Special Operations Team.
Officers entered the house during daylight hours, loudly identifying themselves as Police Officers with a warrant. Another suspect in the residence immediately complied with Officers’ commands to get on the floor. Whetstone was told repeatedly not to move, but he reached between the cushion and arm of the sofa, pulled out a handgun and pointed it directly at Officers, who were only a few feet away. Officers immediately fired their weapons, striking Whetstone multiple times. The entire sequence of events unfolded in a few seconds.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (S.B.I.) investigated the shooting. Multiple body camera videos of the shooting exist and they were collected and preserved by the S.B.I. The D.A.’s Office reviewed eyewitness accounts, corroborated by the body camera footage and other physical evidence, and found all the information to be consistent.