Friends react to death of man shot, killed by deputies in Catawba County

The State Bureau of Investigation has released further details on what led up to a local man being shot and killed by a Catawba County Sheriff's Office Investigator on Monday. 

Friends of the family told FOX 46 Charlotte they're upset by the death of 41-year-old Irecas "Ray" Valentine. They believe Valentine was murdered. 

"They have no justification of why they fired shots at him," Keshia Collins, a family friend said. 

Catawba County deputies said around 4:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28 they were at a home located at 1128 15th Street NE in Hickory conducting a narcotics investigation. 

During the incident, SBI said deputies came in contact with Valentine. During the interaction, Valentine was approached by law enforcement and he attempted to flee the area in his vehicle. While attempting to flee, Valentine struck and heavily damaged a patrol car. 

After this incident, SBI said Valentine was fatally fired upon by a Catawba County Sheriff's Office Investigator. Valentine was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center where he later died. 

An autopsy was performed at Wake Forest Baptist University Medical Center on Tuesday, November 29. SBI said the Medical Examiner's autopsy, investigation, and toxicology report can take months to finalize. 

SBI said members of the Catawba County Sheriff's Office are fully cooperating with them. Upon completion of the investigation, the files will be turned over to the District Attorney's Office for review. 

RELATED: Man dies in hospital after shot by police in Catawba County

"I heard six to eight shots and it sounded like 12-gauge. No pistols, just pow, pow, pow, like it wasn't going to stop. I really think they shot down the wrong man yesterday. Took a man from his beautiful little girl that loved and adored him, he was her everything."

Friends and family told FOX 46 Charlotte this isn't the first time Valentine has been shot by law enforcement officers. They said several years ago, he survived a shooting by police and he later filed a lawsuit against police because of the shooting. 

Records show in 2011 Valentine was shot by a Hickory police officer following a vehicle pursuit and foot chase. According to police, Valentine refused to remove his hands from his pockets and came towards the officer in an aggressive manner. 

The Hickory Police Department said on June 24, 2014 Valentine plead guilty to all charges in connection to the incident. He plead guilty to felony speeding to elude arrest, possession with intent to deliver cocaine and maintaining a vehicle/dwelling for purpose of selling controlled substances. 

The Hickory officer was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in this incident. A civil action was never filed. 

"He was never a violent individual and either incident could the police justify him having any kind of harmful intent toward them," a friend of the family said. 

Friends said they just don't understand why a father and husband had to die. 

"Whatever is done, it's not going to bring back her husband, the kid's father, it's just a tragedy."