The man wanted for killing his girlfriend in Pender County was killed by U.S. Marshals in a shooting incident at the Whiteville Walmart around 2:30 p.m. Thursday (today).
Initial reports are that no officers or passerby were hurt in the shooting.
Family members confirmed on social media that William Dean Hewett, 54, was killed in the shooting. Hewett was wanted for the first degree murder of Brandy Price. Her body was found June 19 on College Street in Atkinson. The Pender Sheriff’s Office announced June 21 that they had obtained warrants for Hewett charging him with murder.
The Marshals Service has not confirmed Hewett’s identity. Brian Alfano of the Marshals Service said the Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force was attempting to apprehend “a fugitive with a warrant from Pender County Sheriff’s Office for first degree murder.” They located him in the Walmart shopping center Thursday afternoon (today).
The suspect produced a firearm, Alfano said, and the task force members fired, striking the suspect. No law enforcement officer injuries occurred.
Law enforcement performed CPR on the man at the scene before EMS arrived.
Alfano said the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is the lead investigative agency on this incident. The U.S. Marshals Service will also conduct an internal review after SBI completes its investigation.
The Whiteville Police and Columbus County Sheriff’s Office were not involved in the incident. Personnel from the N.C. Highway Patrol, WPD, CCSO, Whiteville Fire, and Whiteville Rescue provided security, traffic control and emergency medical response.
The shooting occurred during a busy time of day at the shopping center.
Two women who were parked around 150 feet from the shooting said they heard “nine or ten shots” when a man exited his vehicle and confronted officers.
Carol Hewett Cox said she and her granddaughter were getting in their vehicle when the shots rang out.
“We mostly heard what was going on,” she said. “We were on the general merchandise side (of Walmart) getting in our car. We heard a bunch of pops, and I said sounds like a redneck shooting fireworks for attention.
“Then I told her get in, then we heard about seven more pops. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw police lights over in the grocery parking area. We left as fast as possible.”
Authorities throughout Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick counties were seeking Hewett, 54, formerly of Atkinson. Alerts placed Hewett anywhere in the Cape Fear region. Officials have not confirmed that the man reported shot by marshals today was Hewett.
Many of the bystanders in the parking lot were taking photographs and recording videos as officers from the WPD, sheriff’s office and Highway Patrol responded to the shooting call.
Below is one of the videos submitted to CCN: