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Man charged with murder after running over group of people in Hickory parking lot

On Aug. 28 at 1:03 a.m. officers from the Hickory Police Department responded to a hit and run in the parking lot of Party City on Catawba Valley Boulevard SE.
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Police have charged a man with murder for allegedly running over four people in a Hickory parking lot, leading to one death.

On Aug. 28 at 1:03 a.m. officers from the Hickory Police Department responded to a hit and run in the parking lot of Party City on Catawba Valley Boulevard SE.

When officers arrived they located a male victim with serious injuries in the parking lot. The victim, identified as Jason Michael Foley was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he was in critical condition.

Initial witness statements stated that an altercation had occurred in the parking lot between multiple people.

After the initial altercation, police say the suspect identified as Austin Wayne Edmonson, got into his vehicle and drove around the parking lot multiple times.

Police say Edmonson then drove toward a group of people striking Foley and three others.

Officers were able to locate Edmonson and his vehicle a short time later behind a nearby business.

At that time Edmonson was arrested and charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and felony hit and run.

On Aug. 30, Foley died as a result of his injuries.

Foley’s sister, Courtney Edwards, said her brother was only there in the parking lot to protect her daughter, his niece.

The 16-year-old called her uncle, she Edwards said, wanting him to come down there after “a man threatened her.”

That’s when Foley went. There was a confrontation, according to Edwards, and that’s when Edmondson got into his vehicle, and minutes later, drove toward the crowd. Her brother, she says, stood between the car and the crowd.

“He put his life in danger to save several other lives,” Edwards said

Edmondson appeared before a judge Wednesday for the first time on the murder charge.

He was advised that the maximum penalty, if convicted, could be the death penalty.

When asked if he understood the charges, Edmondson responded “Yes, your honor.”

Foley’s family and friends say they want justice in the case.

David Cheatam says it’s up to the court system now.

“Jason was doing his part to stand up for his family and I hope the courts will do their part to stand up for him,” Cheatham said.

Edmonson has been charged with the additional charges of first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill Inflicting serious injury and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Edmonson is currently being held in the Catawba County Jail with no bond. Anyone with more information about this incident is asked to contact the Hickory Police Department (828) 328-5551.

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