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Authorities: No misconduct in officer shooting

May 29, 2012

Authorities determined there was no evidence of criminal misconduct by a Hickory police officer who shot a man during a traffic stop in December.

District 25 Attorney Jay Gaither's office announced the findings this week after a six-month investigation of the shooting.

On Dec. 17, 2011, police officer Bruce Bumgarner attempted to stop a vehicle near the intersection of U.S. 70 SW and 4th Street SW in Hickory.

The driver — 36-year-old Irecas Valentine of Hickory — failed to stop for the blue light and siren, and he proceeded through a residential neighborhood in his 1996 Ford Explorer.

Valentine eventually got out of the vehicle and ran from Bumgarner.

After running behind a home, Valentine stopped and faced Bumgarner, who commanded Valentine to remove his hands from his pockets and drop to the ground.

Valentine refused and moved toward Bumgarner in what authorities called an "aggressive manner."

Bumgarner then shot Valentine, according to police.

Hickory Police Department conducted an administrative investigation, and the N.C. Bureau of Investigation conducted an independent probe.

Findings were turned over to the district attorney's office for review. Evidence included footage from Bumgarner's in-car video camera.

The district attorney's office concluded the incident lacked criminal misconduct by Bumgarner, according to a press release from Hickory Police Department.

To read more of this story, pick up the Wednesday print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.

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