Man charged with shooting Iredell deputy; suspect hospitalized

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

William Darrell Welton Jr. of Stella in Onslow County has been charged in the shooting of an Iredell County Sheriff’s deputy. Welton was also shot twice during the exchange of gunfire with officers.
He is being held under $1.8 million bond, charged with attempted first-degree murder; five counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm; two counts of first- degree burglary; assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill inflicting serious bodily injury; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill; two counts of fleeing to elude arrest.
The incident started with a traffic stop Tuesday on U.S. 421 in Wilkes County.
A Ford passenger car did not stop, leading to a chase with Wilkes County Sheriff’s deputies that continued to I-77 and into Iredell County.
The Statesville Police Department also joined the chase, along with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
Statesville sheriff’s deputies were able to deploy Stop Sticks at I-40 and I-77. The suspect attempted to strike deputies with his car, narrowly missing the deputies. The car was disabled just south of Broad Street and the suspect jumped out and fired three shots at officers.
Welton ran into a wooded area and the Statesville Police Department notified residents within 1.5 miles of the scene.
The Statesville Police Department and the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office dispatched their Special Emergency Response Teams.
As the Sheriff’s Office SERT team was moving through the woods, the suspect fired three shots at them, one of which struck Detective Sgt. J.T. Smith in the leg. Iredell County Sheriff’s Office personnel returned fire and the suspect once again fled. Welton sustained two gunshot wounds during the exchange of gunfire with officers.
Statesville Police Department Officers took Welton into custody shortly after that. He was taken to Iredell Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and transferred to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston- Salem.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure in cases of this nature.