GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - Family and neighbors of a Gastonia man are trying to make sense of a deadly shooting that started with a routine welfare check and ended with the death of 74-year-old James Howard Allen Saturday night.
Police say they conducted a welfare check around 10 p.m. Saturday at a home on Mary Avenue in Gastonia after Allen's family, in Anson County, were Unable to reach him. Fearing he was in need of medical assistance, relatives asked for officers to check on him.
When police got to the home, Allen didn't answer the door.
After checking hospitals, police went back to Allen's home. When they couldn't locate him after several attempts, a decision was made to enter his home through the back door.
Police say when Gastonia Police officer Josh Lefevers entered the home, he was confronted with deadly force. They say Allen had a firearm in his hand and officer Lefevers shot and fatally wounded him.
"Announcements were made that the police were on the scene," Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton said.
"He was challenged to lay the gun down," Helton continued. "The gun was pointed in the direction of the officers and a shot was fired that fatally wounded him."
"I heard the gun shots and that's when I came to the door," one neighbor told WBTV. "It kind of hurt me that he would get shot like that."
Allen's sister, Mary Battle, said the Army Veteran underwent heart surgery last week. "I'm so hurt that he had to die like this," she said.
Officer Lefevers was placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol in an officer-involved shooting as an internal investigation is completed.