Deputy Sheriff William Mast, Jr.
Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina
End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Tour of Duty: 3 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: July 26, 2012
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Shot and killed
Agency Contact Information
Sheriff Len Hagaman
Watauga County Sheriff’s Office
184 Hodges Gap Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 265-7601
Deputy Sheriff William Mast was shot and killed as he responded to a 911 call with an open line at a trailer home on Hardin Road in Deep Gap, North Carolina, at approximately 1:00 am.
Upon arriving at the scene he began walking towards the house when he was shot in the face. It is believed the subject who shot him intentionally ambushed him. Another deputy with him returned fire killing the suspect.
Deputy Mast is survived by his expectant wife.
A Watauga County sheriff’s deputy was killed responding to a 911 call early Thursday and another deputy returned fire, killing the shooter, authorities said.
Deputy William Ronald Mast Jr., 23, died as a result of the shooting, said Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman. Mast had been a deputy for three years.
Mast’s wife, Paige, is expecting the couple’s first child, a son.
Authorities identified the man who was killed as Mitchell Allen Trivette, 33, of 2130 Hardin Road.
The 911 call came at 12:50 a.m., according to dispatch records.
"It came in as a 911 open line," said Sgt. Shane Robbins of the Boone Police Department, which was assisting the sheriff’s office. "That means the 911 center received a call on the emergency line, answers it and there’s no one on the line."
Two deputies went to check out the call. They arrived about 1:04 a.m. and within minutes shots were fired.
When they arrived at the home off Hardin Road, both of the deputies were out of their vehicles when someone shot at them, striking Mast, Robbins said.
The other deputy returned fire hitting Trivette. Mast and Trivette were taken to Watauga Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead.
Authorities have not released the name of the deputy who killed Trivette and won’t say how many shots were fired.
The home is a single-wide trailer on a short dirt drive off Hardin Road, about 1½ miles north of U.S. 421.
The deputies would have driven down the short drive, past a home on a hill and an old poultry house, both on the left. There’s a wooden porch at the front door of the trailer, and five steps lead up to the porch.
It’s not clear yet if the shooter came out that front door and would have been firing down at the deputies from the porch or if he was somewhere else when they arrived.
Trivette was charged with communicating threats in 2003 but was found not guilty, according to a summary in court records at the Watauga County clerk of courts office. The file has been destroyed, and details of that case were not available.
There were no other criminal charges on file against Trivette in Watauga County.
"He used to be an all-right fellow," said J.D. Bryan, a former neighbor of Trivette’s.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. That’s standard in shootings involving an officer.
Hagaman said he was deeply saddened by the deputy’s death.
"It is a sad day for Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Watauga County community as Officer Mast was a friend and asset to our force and to his community," Hagaman said in a written statement.
Mast was hired July 1, 2009, according to county records.
Watauga County has "lost a member of our family," said County Manager Deron Geouque.
"Words cannot adequately portray how deeply saddened the county, the community and the Mast family are over this tremendous loss," he said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, who represents much of Northwest North Carolina, said her heart breaks for Mast’s family and friends.
"In this time of grief, we remember that the safety we experience in our communities is maintained, in part, because people like Deputy Mast volunteer to place themselves in harm’s way for our protection," Foxx said in a statement. "For that caliber of service and sacrifice, we are grateful."
Deputies and police officers from surrounding counties came to assist throughout the day Thursday, and officers wore black bands across their badges as a sign of respect and mourning for the fallen officer.
People came throughout the day to deliver trays of food to the sheriff’s office.
Robbins said Mast’s fellow officers were "really having a hard time."
"Anytime an officer is out, we’re just trying to go out and do our jobs and go home to our families," he said.
Mast is the first Watauga County deputy to die in the line of duty and the fourth law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in Watauga County.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be posted at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.