UPDATE: Hendersonville Police release names of suspect and officer in shooting


Press release from the city of Hendersonville:

HENDERSONVILLE — Around 11 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, the Hendersonville Police Department responded to the scene of an undercover drug investigation at the Walmart Super Center. A suspect, who was being placed under arrest and attempted to escape, was shot. The officer involved reported that the suspect appeared to be reaching for a weapon in his waistband.

Officers performed first aid until medical personnel arrived and transported the suspect to Pardee Hospital. The suspect later died.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, following the protocols and procedures of the Hendersonville Police Department.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has taken over the investigation of the incident, as also is standard procedure. Hendersonville Police will conduct an internal investigation, as is typically done in officer-involved shootings. All evidence has been turned over to N.C. SBI investigators, including a substance suspected to be illegal drugs and a semi-automatic pistol recovered at the scene.

The officer has been identified as Detective Brandon McGaha, a 12-year veteran of the Hendersonville Police Department. Detective McGaha currently serves as the supervisor of Hendersonville Police Department’s ACE Team. The ACE Team is a special enforcement unit that is responsible for addressing street-level crimes throughout the city of Hendersonville. Street level crimes include the sale and distribution of narcotics, prostitution and general property crimes. The incident occurred during an active drug enforcement operation. Detective McGaha and other members of the ACE Team were not undercover as part of this operation and could easily be identified as police

The suspect has been identified as Rufus Cedric Baker, a 32-year-old male from Buncombe County. Mr. Baker was driving a 2016 Blue Ford Focus.

Additional information regarding the number of shots fired, specific timeline of events and location of involved vehicles is under investigation.

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