DA says officers cleared in November 2021 deadly shooting in Gaston County

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The Gaston County’s district attorney has cleared the law enforcement officers who fatally shot a gunman who held people hostage at a Gaston County restaurant.

The district attorney’s office said the officers “acted reasonably given the immediate risk of great bodily harm and/or death that they each encountered” in the Nov. 18, 2021 shooting, where authorities shot and killed Chucky Nathaniel Bowden, 53, during the hostage situation.

Investigators said the shooting started when an employee at an HVAC business on Earl Road in Cleveland County was robbed at gunpoint.

The suspect, identified as Bowden, stole the woman’s cellphone, cash and a wedding ring before running off. Investigators said they were able to ping the suspect’s location using that stolen cellphone.

Shortly after the robbery, Cherryville police encountered the suspect and a pursuit began involving several agencies. The chase ended when Bowden crashed on Highway 279 near Dick Beam Road in Gaston County.

After chasing after Bowden on foot, Cherryville Police confronted the man and officer Derek Thom shot at him, officials said. Bowden then ran away and evaded police, starting a search involving multiple law enforcement agencies.

Information led police to the Catalina Grill, formerly known as the Creekside Market, on Tryon Courthouse Road at Coho Road in Bessemer City, where authorities found Bowden inside, holding several people hostage.

After several attempts to get Bowden to put his gun down, authorities said Gaston County deputy Stephen Strickland fired one shot, hitting Bowden and causing him to drop his gun. Police then went inside the restaurant, and when they saw Bowden reach for his gun again, Gastonia police officer Eric Seagle fired several shots at him.

Officials said Bowden died at the scene.

No officers or hostages were hurt in the incident.

(WATCH BELOW: Man recalls being held hostage at business when armed suspect was shot to death by police)