BOONE — An investigation continues in an officer-involved shooting death that took place in the late hours of Saturday, March 30, on Hardin Road.
The man who was shot in the incident, Andrew John Mason, 22, was initially transported to Watauga Medical Center and later transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem where he was pronounced dead following emergency surgery, according to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman.
“These things are not easy,” Hagaman said on April 1. “It’s sad for everyone involved, the officers, the family, the county and the citizens. It’s just a sad state.”
An autopsy will take place “today or sometime early this week,” Hagaman said on April 1.
According to Hagaman, deputies were dispatched at midnight on March 30 to the area of 2145 Hardin Road in reference to "a suspicious male going onto the property of residences attempting to gain entry."
"A deputy encountered a male walking in the roadway," according to Hagaman’s March 31 statement. "The deputy stepped out of his vehicle to speak with the individual and was attacked. A violent struggle ensued and a deputy discharged his firearm striking the suspect."
Hagaman declined to answer questions on whether Mason was armed or if he was observed to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, saying those answers will be a part of the NCSBI’s inquiry. When reached on March 31 and April 1, the NCSBI declined to discuss details of the case, saying it was an ongoing investigation.
The details of the investigation will be released at a later date, District Attorney Seth Banks said. The NCSBI said there was no timetable for the investigation to be completed.
The deputy involved has been identified as Adam Gragg, who has been placed on administrative leave per WCSO protocol, according to the sheriff's statement.
Per Hagaman, Gragg has been with the WCSO since May 2017. Gragg was in the U.S. Marines from 2006-2012 and had attained an associate's degree from Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, his Bachelor of Science degree from Appalachian State University and his basic law enforcement training certification from Mayland Community College in Newland.
Along with WCSO, Hagaman said that Boone Police and Watauga Medics were on scene and that Appalachian State University Police answered Boone Police's calls while they were assisting.
Messages were left for Mason's family members on April 1 seeking comment.
This story is developing. Check wataugademocrat.com for updates.