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Winston-Salem Police: Machete-wielding suspect dies in officer-involved shooting

Adam Brent McKnight, 33, has died after investigators say he threatened his family members and officers with a machete.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A man has died after he was shot by police after being accused of trying to use a machete to harm multiple people inside a home, according to investigators.

According to Winston-Salem police, Adam Brent McKnight, 33, has died after he was accused of being armed with a machete with intentions of harming residents inside of a home as well as police officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department.

Investigators said multiple Winston-Salem Police Department officers were dispatched to the home on Bell West Drive for a “Disturbance with Weapons” call for service.  Police said the officers responded with blue lights and sirens activated and arrived at the home within minutes of the call dispatch.

Detectives said the caller said one resident of the home had already been assaulted by being choked, and the caller expressed concern McKnight would use the machete to harm or kill other people in the home.  

Police said at the end of the 9-1-1 call, dispatchers could hear a physical struggle or assault.

After arriving, police found McKnight inside of a small pool house at the back of the home. Officers learned McKnight was also a resident of the home and confirmed that he was armed with a machete. 

According to Winston-Salem police, as officers spoke with McKnight through the door to the pool house, he made several statements indicating that he wanted the officers to kill him.

Investigators said moments later, McKnight left the pool house carrying a large machete. Police said before leaving, McKnight described that he had taken efforts to defeat any taser deployment that might happen.

Winston-Salem police said during the encounter, officers made multiple demands for McKnight to drop the machete. 

Police said officers also made multiple offers to get McKnight any type of help he might need and reminded him that a small child was in the home and should not witness his violent behavior. 

Despite numerous pleas by the officers for Mr. McKnight to simply disarm and allow them to help him, Adam McKnight refused to drop the weapon, according to police.

Police said McKnight aggressively walked toward the officers while holding the machete.

Investigators said a total of four separate taser deployments were made by two different officers, to safely end the encounter without injury to McKnight or the officers. 

Police said each taser deployment failed because of the efforts previously referenced by McKnight.

Investigators said Sergeant R.T. Phillips was one of the Winston-Salem Police Department supervisors monitoring the city Sunday and responded to the scene with blue lights and siren activated, after learning of the armed encounter between the officers and McKnight. 

After arriving to the back of the home, Sergeant Phillips encountered McKnight and the gathered officers near the pool. 

Police said McKnight made numerous statements to Sergeant Phillips demanding that Sergeant Phillips “shoot him” or “kill him.” 

According to Winston-Salem police, Sergeant Phillips repeatedly said to McKnight he did not want to harm him and continued pleading with McKnight to drop his weapon and allow the officers to get him help.

Police said despite more than 20 attempts by Sergeant Phillips and the other officers to convince Adam McKnight to drop his machete and allow the officers to help him, Adam McKnight made a sudden charge toward Sergeant Phillips while holding the machete and yelling “kill me.”

Investigators said When Adam McKnight advanced to within feet of Sergeant Phillips, Sergeant Phillips discharged a single shot from his issued handgun and struck Adam McKnight one time in the torso. Police said McKnight then immediately fell and officers were able to remove the machete from his hand.  

Detectives said officers immediately summoned Emergency Medical Services personnel to the scene and started their own life saving efforts on McKnight, to include the administering of CPR.

According to Winston-Salem police, McKnight eventually regained consciousness and immediately began to struggle with the officers and Emergency Medical Services personnel who were attempting to save him. 

Winston-Salem police said personnel were eventually able to get him loaded into an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.

Police said the encounter between McKnight and the involved officers was captured in its entirety on multiple body cameras. 

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