The police shooting of a 24-year-old man south of downtown Raleigh, N.C., early Monday afternoon generated a tense, impromptu protest of more than 100 people and questions about excessive use of police force.
Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said the shooting took place shortly after noon as officers tried to arrest a man on a felony drug charge. She said one of her officers was chasing the man when the man was shot and killed, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported.
Deck-Brown didn’t name the suspect, but local media, quoting a family member, identified the victim as 24-year-old Akiel Denkins, a father of two young sons.
Denkins’ mother, Rolanda Byrd, told WRAL News that Denkins “didn’t have a gun, (was) trying to jump a fence, and that officer shot my son seven times. For what? For nothing.”
“They killed my son for no reason,” Byrd said.
But Deck-Brown said police found a firearm “within close proximity” of Denkins.
WRAL reported that Denkins had been convicted three times on drug offenses, according to the state Department of Public Safety. There were pending 2015 charges against him for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and probation violations.
One witness to Monday’s shooting, Louis Rodriguez, said he was putting up vinyl siding on a home nearby when he heard the commotion.
“I heard somebody say, ‘Stop, stop,’ then I heard like, six shots,” Rodriguez said. “Then I heard the screams. Man, it was loud.”
After the shooting, more than 100 people gathered at the front of a store near an alley where the body lay. Some encircled Chris Jones, pastor of nearby The Ship ofZion Church, who said a prayer for Denkins’ family, The News & Observer reported.
“No matter what anyone else thinks, they loved him,” Jones said. “Lord, you know what happened out here today.”
The State Bureau of Investigation and the Raleigh Police Department’s internal affairs office are investigating the shooting. Deck-Brown said she will provide a written report about the shooting to the Raleigh City Council within five days.