Neighbors express mixed views on Winston-Salem officer-involved shooting

Corporal D.W. Walsh and Montez Dewayne Hambric

Corporal D.W. Walsh and Montez Dewayne Hambric

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Neighbors who live near where a Winston-Salem police officer fatally shot a man Sunday offered mixed views Monday about the case, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. 

Cpl. D.W. Walsh of the downtown bike patrol unit was trying to arrest Montez Dewayne Hambric, 26, of Durham when police say Hambric assaulted Walsh.

Walsh then fired a single bullet from his service weapon, hitting Hambric.

Hambric was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he died from his injuries. The shooting occurred shortly after 8 a.m. in the 500 block of West Seventh Street, police said.

Greg Sanders and Susan Sapp, who live in the West End neighborhood, said they were sleeping when they heard a gunshot.

“Within a few seconds, I heard sirens,” Sapp said.

Sanders said he eventually saw 30 to 40 police vehicles in the area.

“I saw a mountain bike and a helmet lying the grass,” Sanders said.

Sanders said he feels safe in his neighborhood despite the shooting.

The series of events that led to the shooting began Sunday when officers were called to an accident involving a single vehicle at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Carl Russell Avenue.

The only person in the vehicle ran from the scene, and witnesses gave police a description of the man. Police determined that the vehicle had been reported stolen in Chapel Hill.

An officer spotted a man in the vicinity of the accident who matched the suspect’s description, police said. The officer questioned the suspect, and the man ran toward downtown.

Several officers chased the man.

Walsh eventually encountered the man, later identified as Hambric, in the woods next to West Seventh Street and attempted to arrest him. Hambric then assaulted Walsh, and Walsh shot Hambric.

Investigators haven’t indicated whether Hambric was armed or provided any other details about the assault.

Lewis Handy, a resident of Crystal Towers Apartments, said he believes the police account of the shooting, but said he wasn’t surprised by it.

“I’ve been living in Winston-Salem all of my life, and I’ve seen people shot by the police,” Handy said. “If the police are scared, then they grab their guns real quick.”

Phillip Whitehead, who also lives in Crystal Towers, said he doesn’t believe the police version of events.

“The police are always down here doing something because they are always giving this building a black eye,” Whitehead said, referring to the Crystal Towers apartment complex.

Investigators have gathered evidence in the area where officers first encountered Hambric that linked him to the stolen vehicle. Hambric was on parole for a 2009 robbery conviction in Kentucky, a state corrections record shows.

Walsh, a 17-year veteran, has served in the police department’s downtown bike patrol division for about two years. He has been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting.

Winston-Salem police are investigating the automobile accident, stolen vehicle and assault.

The agency’s Professional Standards Division also is helping with the investigation.

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