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‘He’s never been rude or aggressive,’ says neighbor of Wilson man shot by police during hammer attack

February 5, 2019 GMT

A Wilson police officer is on administrative duty after shooting a suspect who was armed with a hammer.

Two Wilson police officers were sitting in their patrol vehicles in the parking lot of Calvary Pentecostal Church, on Downing Street, at 2:55 a.m., when a man from the apartment complex next to the church approached them with a hammer.

According to police, the man, identified as Jason B. Woodell, 36, assaulted one of the officers and threatened them both with a hammer.

The officer who was assaulted shot Woodell in his shoulder.

Woodell was taken to Vidant Medical Center and later released with a non-life-threatening injury. He is in police custody and is being transported to the Wilson Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.

“About 2:30 or 3, I heard a gunshot (and) I knew it was close by,” said Marvin Bailey, who lives in the area. “They told him to get down, to get down (and) he said, ‘You shot me.’”

The officer did not receive medical treatment.

Neighbors say Woodell is a gentle man dealing with mental health issues. He has lived at the apartment complex for five years and becomes agitated when he is off his medication, they told WRAL News.

“He’s never been rude or anything or aggressive,” said Helen Sherain, a neighbor, who added that Woodell’s mom checks on him on a regular basis. “He’s a very good guy and he’s very nice and respectable to all of us.”

The State Bureau of Investigation will examine the incident, standard practice when an officer is involved in a shooting.

The officer who fired his weapon has been placed on administrative duty during the investigation, which is also standard practice.

While normally pleasant, neighbors say Woodell struggles with mental illness.

“If he’s not on our medication, he sort of goes off once in a while,” Sherain said.

Some neighbors told WRAL they once heard loud noises coming from the Woodell’s apartment at night. They heard banging and screaming and said he apparently had a gripe with police over something that happened many years ago.

Residents who live in the neighborhood who requested anonymity said Woodell has harbored a longstanding dislike for police.

“I think he had negative feelings towards police for something that happened years ago,” one of the residents said. “Minor I think.”

The neighbors said they are just thankful that no one was seriously injured.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.