Black Mountain man's death under investigation

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News
Billy Ricketts

A Black Mountain man's death is under investigation, after he was found unresponsive after a call to police.

Officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance on Fairway Drive at 2:37 a.m. May 19 and found Billy Ricketts Jr. unresponsive in front of the residence with his son administering CPR.

Investigators learned through interviews with family members that the elder Ricketts and his son had been involved in a physical altercation minutes earlier over the ownership of a dog, according to Black Mountain Police Chief Shawn Freeman, who added that the fight was broken up by family members.

“A short time later, it looks like he collapsed,” Freeman said. “The altercation did occur and it was broken up, but what occurred after that remains unclear.”

Ricketts was taken to Mission Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Freeman said Ricketts' body had “scratches and scrapes” indicative of a physical altercation.

Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine whether charges will be brought in the case.

“You can’t assume anything,” Freeman said. “We’re waiting on the medical examiner’s report to determine exactly what happened. This is still an ongoing investigation.”