UPDATED: Funeral arrangements set for deputy
by Kellen Moore
Funeral arrangements were announced Friday, even as many of the details surrounding the 23-year-old's death remained obscured.
A son of Angela Gail Wall and William Ronald Mast, Mast joined the Watauga County Sheriff's Office in 2009 and also was a member of Snow Lodge #363 AF & AM. In addition to his parents and other family members, Mast leaves behind a wife, Paige Greer Mast, and an unborn son to be named William Hunter Mast.
The N.C. Highway Patrol's Caisson Unit will provide transportation to the 2 p.m. funeral Tuesday at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. The unit also assisted in the July 14 funeral of Maj. Ryan Scott David of Boone, who died in a South Dakota plane crash while fighting fires with the N.C. Air National Guard.
The Revs. Michael Greene and Derek Wilson will officiate the service, which will be followed by a burial with law enforcement honors in the Mast Family Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at Mount Vernon Baptist Church.
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the William Hunter Mast Scholarship Fund, in care of Highland Union Bank, 1013 N.C. 105, Boone, NC 28607.
As news of Mast's death spread this week, many flags in Watauga County were lowered to half-staff. His fellow officers donned black ribbons across their badges, and AppalCART buses will display a purple ribbon to honor the public servant.
Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock is spearheading a fundraiser to support Mast's wife and unborn child, according to Greg Tarbutton. The resort and other local businesses plan to donate goods and services for a raffle to benefit the family. More information will be posted at http://www.chetola.com when available.
As the community looks for ways to memorialize Mast and care for those he left behind, some are struggling to comprehend the few details available about the events that led to his untimely death.
What is known is that Mast and Deputy Preston Russell were dispatched to a mobile home at 2130 Hardin Road in Deep Gap shortly after 12:50 a.m. Thursday after the communications center received a 911 open line call. The phone was not hung up, but no one was speaking on the line.
The deputies arrived on the scene at 1:04 a.m. and within minutes were fired upon, according to the Watauga County Sheriff's Office.
Mast was wounded, while Russell returned fire at the shooter, identified by SBI Spokeswoman Jennifer Canada as 33-year-old Mitchell Allen Trivette.
Within minutes, other deputies responded to a call of shots fired and secured the scene, and Watauga Medics were dispatched to the area.
Mast and the suspect were treated at the scene by deputy/paramedics, Deep Gap first responders and Watauga Medics, then transported to the Watauga Medical Center. Both were pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
The State Bureau of Investigation was notified at 1:38 a.m. and arrived a short time later. The investigation was turned over to the SBI, as is standard in an officer-involved shooting.
Local law enforcement and the SBI have not answered any more questions about the incident.
Little information has been released about Trivette, whose only criminal history in Watauga County is a 2003 charge of communicating threats, according to court records. He was found not guilty of that charge.
No funeral arrangements have been publicly announced for Trivette.
"I want to commend the professionalism of the members of our department as they continue to assist the SBI with their investigation," Sheriff Len Hagaman said in a statement released Thursday.
"I also want to thank other law enforcement agencies in the county for assisting us and the local community, clergy members and businesses for their outpouring of support."
"This investigation is going to take some time to complete, and I ask residents and others to refrain from speculation into the details of this incident," Hagaman said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Mast is the first Watauga County sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty. Other information indicates that Amos "Wellie" Howell died in November 1902 after being shot while serving a warrant. Howell had been deputized only for the purpose of serving that warrant, according to "Until He is Dead," a historical text by Tom Rusher.