January 24, 2016 4:24 pm

Sheriff: Man shot by stranded driver after stopping to help in snowstorm

Marvin Jacob Lee.

Catawba County Sherriff's Office

An intoxicated driver stuck in the winter storm shot and killed a man who came to help him, standing over the victim and firing several times after he fell to the ground, authorities in North Carolina said.

The shooting happened late Friday afternoon in Catawba County after Marvin Jacob Lee, 27, spun out and got stuck on the side of the road in the snow, Sheriff Coy Reid said in a phone interview.

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Jefferson Heavner, who lived in the area, drove up in his pickup truck with a couple of people to see if they could help. The sheriff said Heavner and the others could tell that Lee was intoxicated and decided to call authorities instead of pushing his car out. Lee then became belligerent.

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“They were going to let the cops handle it, and that’s when he pulled a pistol and started shooting,” Reid said.

The would-be Good Samaritans ran away, but a bullet hit Heavner and knocked him down, Reid said.

The sheriff said Lee walked over and fired several shots at Heavner while he was on the ground.

Lee then got back in his car. When deputies arrived, he refused to obey commands, so an armored truck and tactical team were called, Reid said. The suspect continued to resist, but was taken into custody. Reid said Lee had the pistol with him when he was arrested.

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No other injuries were reported.

Jail records show Lee was held without bond on a murder charge at the Catawba County jail Sunday. Reid didn’t know if the Claremont resident had an attorney, but he may be appointed one when he appears in court Monday.

Reid didn’t know whether Lee was drunk, on drugs or both.

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A fundraising Web page set up by relatives of Heavner, a 26-year-old Newton resident, says he was the father of a 17-month-old son. It had raised about $10,000 by Sunday for funeral expenses and to support the boy.

Jessica Heavner, the victim’s sister, told The Charlotte Observer that her brother was always willing to help others, such as offering jumper cables when someone’s car wouldn’t start at Wal-Mart.

“Pretty much the irony is he went out of this world doing what he loved to do: helping people,” she said.

She said her brother grew up in Catawba County and loved to hunt and work on cars. He was recently laid off from a job as a lineman for a cable television provider.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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