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The fatal shooting of a suspect by Hendersonville Police officer Jennifer Drake on July 13 was a legally justified use of force to defend the life of fellow officer Kenny Hipps as well as her own life, District Attorney Greg Newman said today.


In announcing the decision to uphold the officers' actions, Newman also provided new details on the confrontation. The prosecutor said that a pocket notebook might have saved Hipps from a fatal stab wound in the heart and he revealed that Sgt. Hipps tried without success to subdue Adrian Eugene King with a stun gun before Drake drew her service weapon and fatally shot King.

Agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) briefed Newman after the District Attorney and Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake requested that the agency investigate the facts surrounding the officers' use of force when attempting to arrest Adrian Eugene King.

Newman said both officers Hipps and Drake conducted themselves within the legal guidelines for North Carolina peace officers and acted within departmental policy of the Hendersonville Police Department. Adrian Eugene King was shot to death after the officers responded to a call of a sexual assault in an apartment above a store on Fourth Avenue West.

"Both of these officers are very experienced and conscientious when performing their sworn duties to enforce the law and to protect the public," Newman said in a news release. "As has been widely reported, Officer Hipps was stabbed by King in the abdomen with a knife. But King also stabbed Officer Hipps in the left part of his chest. Fortunately, the blade was successfully blocked from entering the officer's body by a leatherbound notepad."

The District Attorney added more details as well about the officers' attempts to subdue King without using deadly force.

"Officer Hipps attempted to subdue Mr. King with a Tazer, but King's aggressive behavior prevented the success for this non-deadly measure," he said. "Officer Hipps is fortunate that his partner, Jennifer Drake, was present and took the action that she did or this entire incident could have cost him his life."