Man dies after being shot by bail bondsman in Gastonia, police say

·4 min read

A man has died after being shot by a bail bondsman Friday morning, according to the Gastonia Police Department.

Police said they responded to a shooting outside a home on 29 Diane Theater Road, west of Gastonia, just before 7 a.m.

The victim, later identified as 24-year-old Dalton Lewis, was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, but later died, according to police. Authorities confirmed he was struck eight times.

Family members told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty that Lewis was shot inside his car.

“They said ‘gun, gun,’ and then unloaded. Then Dalton’s hands went up and grabbed the headrest and they kept shooting,” said Brittany Green, Lewis’s fiancé.

At the scene, Faherty saw a vehicle being towed with what appeared to have more than a half-dozen rounds fired into it. Witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots Friday morning.

A bondsman at the scene told Faherty that his life was in danger when Lewis, who was inside the car, pointed a gun at him. But Lewis’ family said he didn’t have a gun and that he was only trying to reach for the ignition when shots were fired.

Green said she was in the car with him and was struck by glass after she said a bondsman began repeatedly firing into the vehicle. She was not struck by gunfire.

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Court records show Lewis had been arrested for misdemeanor larceny and possession of heroin last December and was released on a $10,000 bond. Lewis’s father, Jerry Lewis, said the bondsman had been at the house before looking for his son.

“They came out to get him a while back and they pulled guns on him, and he took off. They scared him. He took off in the car and came flying out of here,” Jerry said.

A bondsman with Faith Bail Bonding, who asked to not be identified, said Lewis failed to appear in court. When they went to the home to serve a warrant, he said the 24-year-old pointed a gun at his head, and that’s when another bondsman fired his weapon.

“We don’t ever want to shoot nobody at all. We don’t ever want it to come to this. We offered to get the dude back out of jail if he’d come and turn himself in, and he didn’t want to do that,” the bondsman said.

Authorities said all of the bondsmen were licensed by the state through Flatline Services, the parent company of several bonding agencies.

Police are still working to determine how many bondsmen fired their weapons. Five people from the bail bond agency were at the home, police said. Investigators said that when they got to the home there was a revolver on the hood of a car, and that the bondsman said he had removed it from inside the car.

Officers said Lewis did not fire a weapon.

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Green insists Lewis didn’t have a gun. She believes the bondsmen went too far by using deadly force.

“One bondsman was screaming, ‘I had to, I had to, I had to do it,’ and I was just like, why? He was unarmed,” Green said.

Police said they have to get ballistics from outside agencies to determine which of the five bondsmen fired their guns. The bondsmen then have to prove that the shooting was necessary.

Mother of man killed by bail bondsman calls for justice

Lewis’ mother told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon that she won’t rest until she has justice for her son.

“I want to know when justice is going to be served, because I won’t rest myself until somebody does something about this,” Lynn Spargo said.

She said she was at home when the shooting happened, and ran outside when she heard the shots fired. Spargo told Lemon that she looked on helplessly as her son died after he was shot eight times.

“Watched him take his last breath, and then I got to go bury him,” Spargo said. “His last words were, ‘I’m dying, momma and I love you.’”

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Spargo said although the bondsmen were licensed, it doesn’t mean they were justified in the shooting.

Channel 9 has reached out to the bonding company, but had not heard back at this point.

Police are consulting with the district attorney’s office during the investigation. Lemon also learned the state insurance department is watching this case.

No other details have been released at this point.

This is a developing story. Check for updates.

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