Morganton man dies after shootout with deputy, state trooper in Caldwell County, authorities say

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A state trooper and deputy are on administrative leave after a man who fired at officers was shot and killed Sunday afternoon during a wreck investigation near Sawmills in Caldwell County, deputies said. The SBI is investigating.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office responded to an overturned car on US-321 near Mission Road shortly before 3 p.m.

A caller to 911 said a man was waving a rifle around saying he needed a ride. Another caller said the man with the gun said if the police come, he will die.

Investigators told reporter Dave Faherty that when they arrived to help, a man climbed out of the overturned car and shot at officers.

Deputies said a state trooper and deputy then returned fire. The suspect was hit and ran into the woods. The suspect, Jerome Lavon Connelly, 35, of Morganton, was found with an apparent gunshot wound. He had several firearms, deputies said.

Deputies said the man was taken to the Frye Hospital and died.

The deputy and trooper were not hurt during the incident.

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A significant amount of narcotics were taken from the wrecked car.

Trooper Bryson G. Bowman, a three-year veteran stationed in Caldwell County, was placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation, which is protocol. The deputy was also placed on administrative leave. The name of the deputy was not released.

Witnesses near the scene told Faherty they were glad the officers weren’t hurt.

“They got a job. They got a family. They got to protect theirselves, and then they have to protect us too. You got people like this. They go out here and fly up and down the road,” said one witness.

The investigation is active and ongoing.

Check back on for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: Crews search for mom, 8-year-old son who vanished while hiking in Caldwell County)