Crime

Triangle law enforcement officers have fatally shot 5 people this year. A 6th survived.

There have been six shootings by law enforcement officers in the Triangle this year, all but one of them fatal.

The latest occurred Saturday (May 7) outside a police station in southeast Raleigh. Reuel Rodriguez-Núñez, 37, was killed in a confrontation with officers after he was seen throwing Molotov cocktails at vehicles in the parking lot.

It was the second fatal shooting by Raleigh police officers this year.

There also have been one fatal shooting by Durham police, one fatal shooting by a Durham County sheriff’s deputy, one fatal shooting by a Duke campus police officer and one non-fatal shooting by Durham police.

The News & Observer previously explained how law enforcement shootings are investigated. In each case, the agencies conduct internal investigations to determine whether officers violated department policies in the shootings.

The officers are placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigations, which typically include a review by the State Bureau of Investigation. The SBI sends its report to the district attorney for a determination on possible criminal charges.

Here are details about each shooting.

Jan. 4: Stephanie Wilson

In the first local law enforcement shooting of 2022, a Durham County sheriff’s deputy killed 28-year-old Stephanie Wilson outside her home Jan. 4 in Bahama, an unincorporated community in northern Durham County.

Authorities said Wilson would not drop a shotgun after multiple requests to do so.

Wilson reportedly rented part of the residence. A 911 call revealed officers were responding to a caller at the home claiming someone was trying to break in, according to a recording and transcript released by the Sheriff’s Office. The caller’s identity was not released.

Deputies were not wearing body cameras because of a delay in implementing them, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Status: One deputy is on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation. The SBI also is reviewing the case.

Jan 11: Daniel Turcios

Raleigh police shot and killed 43-year-old Daniel Turcios on Jan. 11 after a crash on Interstate 440 that he was involved in with his wife and children.

Five officers responded, and body camera footage released in February depicts a chaotic scene that stemmed from an argument between Turcios, police and other drivers. Turcios, a Salvadoran immigrant, did not speak in English in the footage.

Officers surrounded Turcios after they saw he had a knife in his hand, which he did not drop despite orders from police and a bystander speaking to him in Spanish.

While Turcios was walking away from officers, police tased him and then shot him, saying he had swung the knife at officers.

Family members say Turcios had a limited understanding of English and was disoriented by the crash.

A 911 caller suggested Turcios was drunk at the time of the crash, which Police Chief Estella Patterson later cited at a news conference. But an autopsy report detected no alcohol or drugs in his system, The News & Observer reported.

Status: Two officers were placed on leave, Sgt. W.B. Tapscott and Officer A.A. Smith. Tapscott fired the Taser at Turcios as he walked away, while Smith shot Turcios five times after police say he swung a knife at officers.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman will soon determine whether to pursue criminal charges in Turcios’ death.

Jan. 12: Charles Walker Piquet

Durham police officers shot and killed 51-year-old Charles Walker Piquet of Chapel Hill on Jan. 12 when they responded to a reported suicide in progress at a Circle K convenience store on N.C. 54 in Durham.

Officers responded around 3:30 a.m. after a frantic 911 call by a store clerk who said a man in the store was cutting himself.

The front door was locked when officers arrived. When they forced their way inside they “observed an assailant violently assaulting the store clerk with a sharp object,” Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews said.

One of two officers shot Piquet through the Circle K’s glass doors, The N&O reported. Both officers gave Piquet commands to stop attacking the clerk before they fired additional shots that struck him.

The clerk was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Status: The two officers involved, R.V. Gamboa and B.N. Vasquez, were put on paid administrative leave.

Jan. 14: Raishawn Jones

A Duke University police officer fatally shot a man who had a gun in the emergency room of the Duke University Hospital the night of Jan. 14.

Officers responded to calls from hospital employees saying “a patient took a gun from a cop and he’s shooting,” according to a 911 call to a dispatcher.

Raishawn Jones, 38, who was being medically evaluated after being arrested, attacked and injured the officer, according to hospital officials. He fired multiple shots in the emergency room.

A Duke police officer who arrived to help fatally shot Jones.

Jones had been arrested while trying to get away from police after crashing into a car in Durham earlier that day and then crashing into the wall of a restaurant, according to ABC11, The N&O’s media partner.

Jones’ family told ABC11 they believe he was “on something” when he crashed into a car off of N.C. 55 at a Walgreens.

Both the Durham and Duke officers were wearing body cameras during the shooting, but Durham police do not plan to seek release of the footage, Lt. Randall Packard previously told The N&O.

Status: The case is being reviewed by the State Bureau of Investigation.

The Duke officer is currently on paid administrative leave, per the Duke University Police Department’s use of force policy, which authorizes officers to use lethal force in certain situations. It requires officers involved in use-of-force incidents involving serious injury or death to be placed on leave with pay until they’re cleared to return to duty.

May 2: Durham indecent exposure

Durham police shot a 49-year-old woman non-fatally on April 30. The woman, whose name has not been released by police, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Police said the shooting occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Allagosh Drive, according to a news release.

Officers were responding to a reported indecent exposure when they encountered an armed woman.

An officer shot the woman, who was taken to the hospital.

Police did not say what kind of weapon she was carrying.

Police have not said why the officer shot her, whether she was involved in the reported indecent exposure, or whether anyone was charged during the incident.

Status: At least one officer was put on administrative leave after the shooting, police said. The SBI and Police Department are reviewing the case.

May 7: Reuel Rodriguez-Nuñez

Multiple police officers shot and killed 37-year-old Reuel Rodriguez-Núñez on May 7 outside the Raleigh Police Department’s Southeast District police station.

Rodriguez-Núñez’s identity was made public Friday in a police report providing details of the shooting.

The report said 16 minutes elapsed between the first officer arriving and the fatal shots. Officers fired a total of 30 rounds in the altercation.

Rodriguez-Núñez was shot after he was seen throwing Molotov cocktails at vehicles and officers in the parking lot near the police district station. He did not heed to demands from an officer who repeatedly told him “do not do it” and “don’t do it, bro.”

He threw the incendiary weapons at officers in the standoff, but no officers were injured. At least two patrol cars were destroyed.

One officer spoke to Rodriguez-Núñez without his weapon drawn and asked, “What’s going on, man?” Rodriguez-Núñez continued to advance at officers with the Molotov cocktails, the police report states.

Police gave him multiple commands to take his hands out of his pockets before officers fired at him.

Each officer had a body camera, and police plan to ask a judge to publicly release the videos, Patterson said. State law requires law enforcement departments to file a court petition when footage of a police shooting is being sought.

Status: The SBI is reviewing the shooting.

Additionally, police said the detective division is conducting a separate investigation into the actions of Rodriguez-Núñez. An administrative investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Standards is also being conducted.

This story was originally published May 13, 2022 5:14 PM.

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Aaron Sánchez-Guerra is a breaking news reporter for The News & Observer and previously covered business and real estate for the paper. His background includes reporting for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a freelance journalist in Raleigh and Charlotte covering Latino communities. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University, a native Spanish speaker and was born in Mexico. You can follow his work on Twitter at @aaronsguerra.
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