Eyewitnesses have offered descriptions of what happened Monday, including a woman who said a Black man was shot in the back by a White police officer, but authorities have so far been tightlipped. Raleigh police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said an officer was pursuing a man who was wanted on a felony drug charge when the officer opened fire. The chief said a gun was found near the suspect’s body, but she did not say whether it was his.
After the shooting, neighborhood residents began chanting “no justice, no peace” — a slogan used by the Black Lives Matter movement. Later in the evening, about a dozen people gathered around an anti-police sign with an expletive that was hoisted on a utility pole.
The officer involved in the shooting was identified as senior officer D.C. Twiddy, 29, according to police spokesman Jim Sughrue. He said Twiddy has been placed on administrative leave, in accordance with department policy, while the State Bureau of Investigation looks into the matter. Twiddy’s race was not released.
Witness Claresa Williams said she was standing on the curb in front of her apartment when she saw an officer drive up Monday. A man standing in front of a convenience store began to run, she said.
“When the police came, he jumped the fence” into the backyard of a house next door, Williams told The Associated Press. “The officer jumped the fence, pulled his gun out and shot him down six times.”
Williams said her view was blocked so she didn’t see the man fall from the bullets.
“To me, you pulled your gun out and you fired at that man six times in his back because he was running,” Williams said.
At the vigil, the Rev. Chris Jones of Ship of Zion, a church in the neighborhood, said he knew the dead man and asked aloud why the officer had to kill him.
After addressing the crowd, Jones said in a brief interview that he wanted people to remember the slain man as a good person despite having some problems. By the end of the vigil, the anti-police banner had been taken down.
Judith Lewis, a woman who described herself as a community activist who has lived in the area for years, said a lot of drug activity takes place in the neighborhood at night. She blamed it on buyers coming in from elsewhere.
“It’s an open-air market,” she said.
Deck-Brown said the Raleigh Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit will investigate whether any departmental policies were violated. She said she will send a report to the city manager within five working days.
Associated Press writers Emery P. Dalesio, Allen G. Breed and Martha Waggoner contributed to this report.