At 1:02 p.m., the Durham Police Department confirmed an officer-involved shooting that happened in McDougald Terrace at twelve thirty. While the police haven’t yet released any details, the INDY’s Ken Fine, who is on the scene, has been told by eyewitnesses that the perpetrator—believed to be a thirty-three- or thirty-four-year-old African-American man (whose identity has not yet been confirmed)—was fleeing from police when he turned and fired a shot. An officer, the witnesses say, was shot in the leg. (Update: The police say there was a gunshot and an officer sustained a leg injury, but no officer was shot.) Another officer then fired five shots in return, striking the man. Fine says there is a sheet over the man’s body, indicating that he is deceased. The DPD hasn’t yet confirmed that, either. (Update: That has now been confirmed.)
Here’s what Fine is hearing:
Witnesses say an undercover officer was circling the block, and the residents who were outside “took to running.” But one man remained—the man who was killed.
Residents are on edge. One woman screamed that the police had “killed my fucking cousin.” A young man said, “I need to get out of here. That could have been me.”
“Shit is motherfucking real,” said a twenty-nine-year-old woman who lives in the building the dead body is in front of and asked not to be identified. “You think they care about us? Look at them—on their phones, laughing.”
Her cousin added: “[The cops] are having a ball. They ain’t doing anything. And this body is still over there. Where the coroner at?”
The officer involved is known to the residents of McDougald Terrace—this is part of his beat, they say. His nickname, we’re told, is “Broccoli.”
“We ain’t never seen white people respond to this neighborhood like this when it’s one of us who’s in trouble,” a woman shouted at the police. “We don’t need you ’round here. You showed up in your undercover car looking for trouble, and now he dead.”
“Broccoli,” she then told the INDY, “always be harassing people.”
Another witness says Broccoli was not the cop who got shot. He was there, but it was “some guy I don’t know. But he was black.” Broccoli was, according to the witness, the officer who returned fire.
Fine is on his way to police headquarters for a 3 p.m. briefing.
Update: Here is the DPD’s press release on the incident that they handed out before the press conference. The cops’ version differs somewhat from what witnesses and residents told us. Worth noting: An officer sustained a leg injury but was not shot in the leg.
Once Police chief C.J. Davis began fielding questions—her statement was just a reading of the above release—the plot thickened, when Fine asked the chief if it was “common practice” for Durham police to “start firing if they hear a gunshot.”
“If it’s relatively close or if I feel that that gunshot came from the individual I’m encountering.”
Fine followed up.
“So the officers believed that individual had fired a gun at them and they responded with use of force?” he asked.
“That’s only an assumption at this point,” Davis replied.
A more detailed look at the scene and press conference will be posted on the INDY’s website this evening, so stay tuned.