Durham Police Officer Ronald Mbuthia will not be charged for the fatal shooting of Jose Adan Cruz Ocampo, Durham District Attorney Leon Stanback announced this morning.
On July 27, 2013, Durham police responded to a stabbing at 806 Park Avenue. Ocampo, 33, who was near the crime scene, retrieved a knife from his back pocket while officers attempted to engage him in conversation. According to Stanback, certain witnesses reported that officers tried to instruct Ocampo to put the knife down. Mbuthia fired his service weapon four times. One of the bullets struck Ocampo in the head, killing him immediately. An internal police investigation followed. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation also launched an investigation. Mbuthia was put on administrative duty with pay.
According to Stanback, a responding firefighter removed a black-handled kitchen knife from Ocampo’s right hand. Stanback’s office reviewed the autopsy, the Medical Examiner’s report, 911 calls, police in-car camera recordings, physical and and latent evidence, and interviews with officers, witnesses, firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel. After its review, Stanback’s office concluded there was no probable cause to charge a crime.
Ocampo, originally from Honduras, reportedly did not speak English. Following the shooting, Durham attorney Scott Holmes, the director of the Civil Litigation Clinic at N.C. Central University, claimed that other witnesses stated that Ocampo was merely attempting to hand over the knife to officers and presented no threat.