Deputy, suspect killed in Watauga County shootout

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DEEP GAP, N.C. -- A sheriff's deputy died after he was shot by a suspect early Thursday in Watauga County. 

Deputy William Mast Jr., 23,  was fatally shot by the suspect after responding to a call in Deep Gap around 1 a.m., according to Sheriff Len Hagaman. 

The suspect opened fire on Mast and another deputy when they arrived at the home on Hardin Road, Hagaman said. 

The other deputy, who has not been publicly identified, immediately returned fire, fatally shooting the suspect in return, Hagaman said. 

"It is a sad day for Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Watauga County community as Officer Mast was a friend and asset to our force and to his community," Hagaman said. 

Mast worked at the Sheriff's department for over three years.

"This investigation is going to take some time to complete and I ask residents and other to refrain from speculation into the details of the this incident," Hagaman said.

The shooting is being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation. Additional details have been withheld since the investigation is ongoing.

No other details were provided.