Bessemer City man, 44, fatally shot by officers identified; BCPD says incident wasn’t his first run-in with police

North Carolina

BESSEMER CITY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The Bessemer City Police Department has formally identified the man police officers fatally shot during a foot chase after officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant.

The suspect has been identified as Billy Jack Barker, 44. His family has been notified of his death. According to Bessemer City Police, Barker was also involved in an officer-involved shooting incident with the Bessemer City Police Department in January of 2021.

No officers with the Bessemer City Police Department were injured in the incidents.

Officers C.L. Jarvis and Det. D.F.  James have been placed on administrative duty pending the competition of the parallel investigations. “This is standard protocol anytime an officer discharges their weapon,” BCPD said.

The deadly incident began around 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 16, when officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant on two wanted suspects at a home in the 100 block of Sunset Lane. While there, officers identified another person at the location who was also wanted on outstanding warrants.

When officers tried to take Barker into custody, he reportedly ran from officers. Officers chased Barker for a short distance, demanding he stop and show them his hands. Barker reportedly made several attempts to appear he was retrieving something from his waistband.

“Officers interpreted the actions of the suspect as an imminent threat and attempted to stop the threat by discharging their service weapons. The suspect was shot during the encounter and was transported to CaroMont Regional Medical Center and was later pronounced deceased,” BCPD said.

The estranged wife of Barker identified him to FOX 46 on Wednesday. Denise Barker said they were separated, but still officially married. She gave FOX 46 some insight on what exactly was going on that may have led to the chase and shooting involving Bessemer City Police.

“For the past two-to-three years, he’s been on meth and he’s turned into a person I don’t even know,” Denise Barker told FOX 46.

Denise said, in addition to drugs, Barker was also bipolar. He had a history of arrests and had spent time behind bars.

“We kinda knew this day would come someday because he always said he wasn’t going to go back to jail or prison,” Denise explained.

Despite everything that happened, Denise Barker said the hours since Billy’s death have been tough, even though they are separated. “I still love him,” she said.

The NC SBI is the primary investigative agency for this investigation.

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