Deadly stabbing in Hickory investigated as self-defense, police say

HICKORY, N.C. — A deadly stabbing Friday night in Hickory is being investigated as a possible case of self-defense, according to the Hickory Police Department.

Police said they were called after 11 p.m. for people yelling at each other outside a home on Second Avenue Southeast. At the scene, police said they found 37-year-old Brandon Scott Willis on the ground. He had been stabbed several times, officers said, and was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Witnesses told police that Willis was walking down the street when he got in an argument with two brothers -- 21-year-old Christopher Isaiaha Bradley and his 18-year-old brother.

Police said Willis knocked Isaiaha Bradley to the ground and continued to physically assault him. During the assault, Bradley stabbed Willis with a pocket knife before immediately calling 911, according to police.

Family members told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty the brothers were sitting in a car in their driveway listening to music when Willis started screaming at them and chased one of them around a nearby field. Investigators said Willis did not know the two brothers when he came onto the property and attacked Isaiaha Bradley.

Channel 9 learned from police that Willis had a knife during the fight, but Bradley got control of the weapon. Willis was then stabbed with his own knife, according to police.

Bradley was also taken to the hospital seriously hurt, police said.

“My son’s not one to do anything to hurt anybody,” Bradley’s mother Patricia Ann Gilvaja said. “He did what he had to do to defend him and his brother. And I pray for the family that was involved. I know it’s not easy for anyone to lose a loved one.”

Gilvaja said she believes this is a case of self-defense.

A man who knew Willis told Channel 9 that he had spoken to him moments before he was stabbed to death. He asked to remain anonymous, and said he warned Willis not to get into arguments with people he didn’t know.

“We just talked to Brandon and tried to convince him quit doing crazy stuff like this because one day, a person is going to react to your actions to them,” he said. “It happened just 10 minutes later, and now Brandon is not here and everybody is like, ‘He just attacked a kid.’”

Police said after the investigation is finished the case will be taken to the district attorney, who will decide if charges will be filed.

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