Deputies ‘justified’ in killing robbery suspect at North Carolina Zoo 1 year ago, district attorney says

North Carolina

ASHEBORO, N.C. — A year after a deputy-involved shooting took the life of an armed robbery suspect at the North Carolina Zoo, the Randolph County District Attorney’s Office has cleared deputies of any wrongdoing.

On Jan. 7, 2020, deputies shot and killed Troy Chase Caster, 21, who was wanted after allegedly robbing a female cab driver at gunpoint, after leading deputies on a chase that ended near the Africa entrance of the North Carolina Zoo.

“It is clear from the evidence that at the time the involved deputies fired their duty weapons they were either presented with an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or another deputy from the actions of Troy Caster,” District Attorney Andrew Gregson said in a news release. “The deputies’ application of deadly force was reasonable and necessary in response to the threat. The deputies’ actions were lawful, justified and proper under U.S. Constitutional law and the North Carolina law governing the use of deadly force by law enforcement.”

Shortly after 5 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2020, Rowan County deputies responded after a female cab driver was assaulted in an armed robbery at Arcadia Road and Rogers Road, near China Grove, Rowan County deputies say.

Deputies believe the cab picked up Caster on Rock Hill Church Road, in Concord, and drove him to Arcadia Road.

The driver told Caster the fare, and that’s when deputies say he pointed a pink handgun at the driver and demanded her money.

Caster allegedly pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire.

The driver tried to wrestle the gun away from the passenger and the gun went off, firing through the vehicle’s window.

Caster got out of the car and walked around to the driver’s side window where he pointed the gun at the driver, deputies say. The cab driver then sped off.

Concord police were able to identify the suspect as Caster because he was wanted for the larceny of a pink handgun on Saturday in Salisbury. Salisbury police had tried to find him after the larceny but were unable to track him down.

Through the night, Rowan County deputies tried to find Caster at multiple places in the area.

At about 5:30 a.m. the next morning, deputies saw him near his home on Phaniels Church Road in a vehicle with no tag.

When they tried to pull him over, he drove away.

The suspect led deputies on a chase from Rowan County through Stanly County and Davidson County and into Randolph County. The chase broke 100 mph.

Deputies say Caster fired shots at the deputies and drove toward the Africa entrance of the North Carolina Zoo.

Deputies were able to force the chase to an end on a gravel road behind the zoo where more shots were fired.

Caster was reportedly shot several times and died of his injuries at the scene.

Several deputies were involved, but no deputies were injured.

Caster was reportedly wanted on charges of felony attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The suspect also had outstanding warrants for felony larceny of a firearm and misdemeanor larceny.

The State Bureau of Investigation was on scene.

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