SBI determines self-defense plea justified in Boiling Spring Lakes shooting

Officers responded to reports of an altercation where an individual had been shot. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 5:02 PM EST
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BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (WECT) - After a review of the evidence, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation determined the shooter was “legally justified in using deadly force under the theory of self-defense” in a fatal shooting that occurred in Boiling Spring Lakes on Jan. 6.

On that date, officers responded to reports of an altercation where an individual had been shot. The victim, Hiram Jay Willets, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators say the shooting stemmed from an earlier fight between two other men.

The father of the man who claimed he was assaulted went to a home on Windermere Drive and remained in his truck on a public road.

At some point authorities say Willetts put a shotgun to the man’s head...and a scuffle happened.

It was during the altercation that the father shot Willetts.

The news release from the Brunswick County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the actions were justified and stated, in part:

“[t]he lawful occupant of a… motor vehicle… is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm to himself…when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to another if both of the following apply: (1) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a …motor vehicle,… or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the …motor vehicle.... (2) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.”

The 911 calls released after the shooting capture the details of the incident.

Jon David stated, “In the final analysis, the use of lethal defensive force in this case was legally justified. However, that is far different than concluding that this is a desirable outcome. I want to encourage our citizens to report crimes to law-enforcement and trust the process, rather than taking self-help. The death of Mr. Willets is a tragedy which could have been prevented had law-enforcement been given the opportunity to do their jobs.”

WECT has reached out to the DA’s office to find out if any other charges are pending.

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