HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) — A man who was fatally shot by a Catawba County deputy Tuesday was reportedly shot by a Hickory police officer nearly three years ago, his family told WBTV.
Family and friends have identified the man as Ray Valentine and say he was a “good family man.”
“I think it’s sad and cruel,” friend Timothy Stewart said. “And I really think they shot down the wrong man yesterday.”
The incident happened just after 4 p.m. Monday afternoon on the 1100 block of 15th Street NE in Hickory. Narcotics investigators were conducting an investigation when they came into contact with Valentine. Family members say they believe he was being followed by police.
According to the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, an altercation involving Valentine’s vehicle and an undercover deputy’s vehicle occurred during the investigation. The deputies vehicle was struck, officials said, hard enough to knock the bumper off.
“During this interaction, the subject was shot by investigators,” deputies say, and Valentine crashed a short distance away.
Family and friends say this is not the first time Valentine has had contact with police. They say about three years ago Valentine was shot by a Hickory police officer.
“It’s sickening, it’s upsetting,” family friend Keisha Collins said.
Collins said Valentine was pulled over for a traffic stop in Hickory three years ago and claims he didn’t have a gun. She doesn’t know what happened after that but she says police shot him eight times. Family members said Valentine filed a lawsuit against the Hickory Police Department.
“It’s like disbelief that the law enforcement is continuing to do these kinds of things and get away with it,” Collins said.
WBTV inquired about the shooting but Hickory Police has not yet commented.
The State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) is conducting the death investigation involving the deputy and Valentine. The officer’s and victim’s name have not officially been released by police.
“I am not able to provide any info at this time, however, I plan on speaking with the agents involved with the investigation later this afternoon,” the SBI said.
While family and friends wait for more information, people in the community are on edge about what they call a senseless death in their neighborhood.
“I hope it wakes some people up.” Stewart said.
Anyone witnesses are asked to contact the SBI at 828-294-2226.
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