On Thursday, police shot and killed a man who took them on a two-state chase in what was believed to be a stolen vehicle. The incident began when the man, now identified as 26-year-old Matthew Whitley, hit a woman and her husband with the car.
Police say Whitley rear-ended the 73-year-old woman’s car when she and her husband were on their way to the doctor in Gastonia Thursday morning.
The woman and her husband weren’t hurt, but she said it scared her to learn that the man who hit her had a gun and later fired shots at law enforcement officers.
Whitley kept on driving, deputies say, leading them on a chase throughout North and South Carolina that eventually ended in a shootout. Police killed Whitley in Kings Mountain.
“I literally was praying I’m a witness just protect me get me through this I want to see my wife and my son,” said Justus McCranie who shot video on his phone and heard gunshots when he was behind Whitley as he encountered deputies in York County, SC.
The sheriff there says Whitley fired at deputies and rammed their patrol car before he came back into North Carolina and was killed by police.
A family member of Whitley who wanted to remain anonymous sent FOX 46 Charlotte this message on Facebook about Whitley: “He was a dad, a brother, a son, a friend and I understand the police feel like they had to do what was necessary but I still think at times depending on the situation, they could use less lethal sources first then go from there.”
FOX 46 looked up Whitley’s criminal record online. While it shows some charges against him were dismissed, he was in jail in the past for child support issues and failure to appear in court.
As far as the investigation into Whitley’s death goes, two Kings Mountain police officers Chris Tate and Joshua Bryant are on administrative leave, and the State Bureau of Investigations recovered body cam and dash cam footage from officers to use in their investigation of the police shooting