BOONE, N.C. – A deputy killed in a shootout early Thursday morning in Watauga County was responding to a 911 domestic violence call, according to investigators and the deputy’s family.
William Mast Jr., 23, was shot after he got out of his car and approached a mobile home on Hardin Road near Highway 421. It happened shortly after 1 a.m.
Relatives said Mast and his wife were expecting their first child any day and he was thrilled about becoming a father.
Another deputy who also responded to the 911 call returned fire, striking and killing the man who shot and killed deputy Mast.
Investigators haven’t released the suspect’s name, but neighbors say he lived at the mobile home with his wife and kids. Investigators also are not saying how many shots were fired or where they came from.
"It is a sad day for Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Watauga County community as Officer Mast was a friend and asset to our force and to his community," said Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman in a statement.
Fellow officers are wearing black bands over their badges and say their focus is on Mast’s family.
The SBI is handling the investigation.
Mast would have turned 24 next month. Relatives say he’s been a deputy with Watauga County for three years.