RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County’s district attorney said Friday the use of force by two Raleigh police officers who returned fire and killed an armed robbery suspect in May was lawful.
David Tylek Atkinson, 24, was confronted by officers responding to an armed robbery. The incident was reported at 7:18 p.m. on May 13 at a convenience store located along the 2100 block of New Bern Avenue.
Officer Brown was directed to Farris Court, which is where officers were told Atkinson had fled on foot.
Brown saw Atkinson standing at the corner of a white SUV in a parking lot along the 100 block of Farris Court, the report said. Atkinson drew his weapon and shot Brown in the chest, the report said.
The bullet was stopped by a ballistic vest Brown was wearing.
Brown returned fire. Atkinson ran across the parking lot, still pointing a gun at Brown, according to the report.
Officer Pekich, who responded to the scene with Brown, heard the exchange of gunfire and saw Atkinson running across the parking lot, the report said. He fired at Atkinson.
Brown then fired his weapon again, and Atkinson fell to the ground, the report said.
Atkinson dropped his gun and the stolen money and merchandise he had been carrying, the report said.
Atkinson was taken to WakeMed in an ambulance. Brown was driven there in a patrol vehicle. Brown was treated and released. Atkinson died at the hospital, police said.
Crime scene evidence reflects that police recovered 20 shell casings of .45 caliber and two .380 shell casings along with a .380 pistol that had one .380 round in the magazine. One of the two .380 casings recovered was still in the gun, a report said. It had not been ejected when it was fired, a CCBI report says.
“The pattern of the recovered shell casings, the body camera videos, and the statements by officers
and witnesses would indicate that Brown encountered Atkinson on the sidewalk in front of
townhome unit #102. A .380 shell casing found in the grass in front of 102 would indicate that
Atkinson shot Brown as Brown was coming down the sidewalk towards him. Recovered .45
shell casings would indicate that Brown began returning fire immediately with some of his
rounds striking the SUV that Atkinson was standing next to when he shot Brown,” the report reads.
Evidence also reflects that Pekich fired at Atkinson as Atkinson came from the parking lot to
the sidewalk leading to New Bern Avenue.
Officials say evidence would also indicate that Atkinson fell mortally wounded on Farris Court and that next to him were the proceeds of the robbery of the BP and a loaded .380 pistol.
The pistol’s slide was locked to the rear and a .380 casing was sitting in the barrel. This would indicate that the gun was fired but it did not properly eject the spent shell thus rendering it inoperable until the shell could be removed and the slide reengaged.
The CCBI report reflects that of the 20 rounds fired by officers, Brown discharged his
weapon 17 times and Pekich discharged his weapon three times.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, in a report released Friday, offered this analysis and conclusion on the shooting:
At the point in time that Officers Brown and Pekich fired their weapons at Mr. Atkinson, Mr.Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman
Atkinson was attempting to elude arrest following an armed robbery of a convenience store and
had shot Officer Brown in the abdomen with the bullet launching in Brown’s bulletproof vest.
Based on the evidence available in this case, it is the conclusion of the District Attorney that
Officers Brown’s and Pekich’s use of deadly force was lawful.
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