Man shot, killed in Hickory ‘made everyone laugh and smile,’ friends say

HICKORY, N.C. — Family and friends shared more with Channel 9 about a man who was shot and killed outside a friend’s home in Hickory two weeks ago.

A memorial is growing for Wade Danner at the Wimberly Crossing apartments, just feet from where he was shot and killed on May 15. Family and friends said Danner was well known at the apartment complex for helping others.

Police said that day, they found Danner dead on the porch of an apartment where he had been staying with friends. Hours afterward, investigators identified a suspect, Octavius Morgan, saying they had a first-degree murder warrant for his arrest.

Faherty learned Friday about an important piece of evidence that was missed in the case. Surveillance video police did not know about that shows the moments leading up to the shooting. Family members said Danner can be clearly heard in the video asking the suspect to “put the gun down.”

In the video, Danner walks through the apartment parking lot. Moments later, neighbors said they heard him say, “Put the gun down, put it down, put it down.” Seconds after that, witnesses described hearing three shots ring out.

When Faherty learned of the videos, he alerted police with the owner’s permission.

Dozens of people gathered at the memorial Friday to remember Danner.

“He would clean up the neighborhood. He made everyone laugh and smile. He waved to everybody,” said friend Bridgett Evans. “If there was someone out here who didn’t have a place to go, he made sure they had food.”

“He would never let a woman take trash out. He would always take it for them,” neighbor Katlyn Garland said.

Neighbors and family say it was Danner’s willingness to help others that may have led to a dispute with Octavius Morgan. They said Danner was concerned about Morgan’s dog, feeding it and even taking it for walks.

Areiana Danner still can’t believe her uncle is gone. She said Morgan blamed Danner when his dog ended up missing and confronted him at the apartments.

“Just a moment of -- I can’t explain it,” she said. “I wouldn’t hurt or take someone’s life over a dog.”

Police said they are still working to determine the motive and are asking for help finding Morgan. If you can help, give them a call at at 828-328-5551.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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