Sheriff: Watauga Co. man shot, killed by deputy during 'violent struggle'

WATUAGA COUNTY, N.C. — Officials said a deputy is on leave after shooting and killing a man who attacked him Saturday in Watauga County.

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According to deputies, a call came in about a suspicious man attempting to break into people's homes near Hardin Road east of Boone.

Deputy Adam Gragg said that when he arrived, he spotted a man walking in the road and when he got out of the squad car to approach him, the man attacked.

Deputies said after a violent struggle, Gragg pulled out his gun and shot the man, who later died in the hospital after emergency surgery.

Officials later identified the man as 22-year-old Andrew John Mason.

Channel 9's Stephanie Tinoco spoke with Mason's father, who said his whole family is hurting and there's no way his son could have been in his right mind to attack an officer.

"I wouldn't wish this on anyone," his father said. "He knows better than to argue with a police officer because apparently, he wrestled with one. He's also got an 11-year-old sister who is sitting at grandma's crying her eyes out. Even if they found an officer was at fault. It really doesn't matter a bit. It ain't bringing my kid back."

Neighbors said they were shocked to hear about the shooting. The area was the same area where a Watauga County sheriff's deputy was shot and killed in 2012 while responding to a call.

"It was kind of a shock," neighbor Marcus Mikael said. "I really do believe they had to do what they had to do."

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is now handling the case.

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It is unknown at this time if Mason was armed during the incident.

Per protocol, the sheriff said, Gragg has been placed on administrative leave.

This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with for updates.

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