Man dies during arrest attempt in Hickory, investigation underway

Man dies while in custody in Hickory

HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - A man died during an arrest attempt in Hickory Monday. A death investigation is now underway.

Hickory Police officers responded to the Red Roof Inn on Lenoir Rhyne Blvd SE, after receiving information about an individual in a white vehicle that had meth and a gun on Monday around 10:30 a.m.

Upon arrival, officers found an unoccupied white vehicle with an assault rifle clearly visible between the front seats.

After canvassing several hotel rooms, officers returned and saw a male and female standing next to the white vehicle. As officers approached and gave commands, officials say the man hit an officer and ran.

Officers ran after him and tried to arrest him, during which time a Taser was deployed.

After the struggle to arrest the man, officials say the man became unresponsive. Officers immediately began CPR and called for EMS. Catawba County EMS responded to the scene where the man was pronounced dead.

Hickory Police Department immediately requested the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation.

The officers involved were Master Police Officer Landen Whitener and Police Officer Alex Weaver. As part of standard procedure, they have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation. One officer received minor injuries as a result of the incident.

Police have identified the man who died as 41-yea- old Matthew Saunders of Lincolnton. Officials say it was later determined that Saunders was wanted by the U.S. Marshall Service as a federal probation absconder.

Police say when officers at the scene approached Saunders, they believed he was under the influence of some type of narcotic.

As they performed CPR after he was tased, he was given a dose of Naloxone in hopes of counter-acting whatever drug may have been in his system. Cause of death will be determined when toxicology and autopsy reports are returned.

Britton Metcalf, 32, was the woman with him and she has been charged with several counts of firearms violations and trafficking methamphetamine. In her car, two rifles and a handgun were found as well and over $4,900 as well as methamphetamine and marijuana.

Officials say no further information can be released at this time as this is a continuing investigation.

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