BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A suspect in a Burke County drug investigation was airlifted to the hospital after being shot by a SWAT officer during the execution of a search warrant at his home on Wednesday.
The incident happened at a mobile home on Airport/Rhodhiss Road in Hickory. Officials say a search warrant issued stated that the suspect and others at the home had firearms and may have handguns on their person.
SWAT executed a no-knock search on the home and found the suspect - identified Thursday as 50-year-old Johnny Allen Kaylor - in bed in a bedroom, but he refused to get out of the bed or show his hands to officers. A female was escorted out of the room and the mobile home.
According to a release from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Kaylor repeatedly told the officers he was either going to kill them or make the officers kill him.
“After numerous threats, the suspect quickly moved his hands beneath the covers and a SWAT officer fired his weapon,” the release states.
Officers immediately began rendering first aid until EMS, who were staged close by to the scene, could take over. Kaylor was then airlifted to a medical center. As of Thursday afternoon, officials said he undergone surgery and was in critical but stable condition.
Neighbor Fred Stewart said he was not surprised by what happened.
“There have been police there a couple of times," he said.
Sam Dunn said he wasn’t surprised either that the suspect got into a confrontation with the law.
“He thinks he’s Wyatt Earpp and carriers a gun all the time,” Dunn said.
Sheriff Steve Whisenant confirmed his deputies have had dealings with the man before. Whisenant later stated on Thursday that Kaylor remained hospitalized but is expected to recover. When he is released from the hospital he will face numerous charges. When deputies searched the home after the shooting they found a weapon near the bed where Kaylor was shot as well as $27,000 worth of drugs, including half a pound of methamphetamine.
Neighbor Pearl Sines says she and others suspected drugs were being sold at the home but “We were too afraid to say anything.” Meanwhile the SBI is still finishing the report on the shooting itself. The report will be turned over to the District Attorney.
The SWAT officer who fired the weapon was placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of a SBI investigation, which is standard procedure.
Late in the afternoon, SBI agents left the scene and Burke Sheriff’s Deputies executed the narcotics search warrant they were trying to serve in the morning. They say a Ruger semi-automatic handgun, 273 grams of methamphetamine, an assortment of prescription medications, and a small amount of marijuana were seized.
No officers were injured during the incident.