04/05/2004

Sheriff's Deputy Shot To Death Serving Papers at N.C. Home, Suspect Also Killed

Officer Down: Sgt. Jeff Hweitt - [Asheville, North Carolina]

The Asheville Citizen-Times

Asheville, N.C. -- An 11-year veteran of the Buncombe County sheriff's office was shot to death Sunday night as he and two other deputies tried to serve involuntary commitment papers, the sheriff said Monday.

The suspect fled on foot before deputies found his body behind a home in the subdivision where he lived.

Sheriff Bobby Medford said Sgt. Jeff Hewitt, 33, was among three deputies attempting to serve the papers on Eddie Cassada, 56. The sheriff said when deputies arrived, Cassada opened fire.

Hewitt, a former Marine who served in the Persian Gulf war in 1991, died at the scene.

The other deputies returned fire and Cassada fled. He was found dead of a gunshot wound not far from his home, Medford said.

Residents reported hearing multiple gunshots in the area around 10 p.m., The Asheville Citizen-Times reported.

"There was a burst of gunshots fired at one point and then later on there was other shots fired and behind our property there were more shots fired later," said Jeff Watson, who lives near the scene of the shooting.

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