A man in police custody at Duke University Hospital was shot and killed by a university police officer after a struggle Friday night, hospital officials said Saturday.
The man was under arrest and in the custody of a Durham police officer when a struggle broke out between them in the emergency department, a hospital spokesperson told The News & Observer.
During the struggle, the man, who was not identified, took the officer’s gun, hospital officials said.
A Duke University police officer came to assist and shot the man, officials said. The man was immediately treated by trauma staff but did not survive.
Officials are notifying his family, the spokesperson said.
The Duke University Police Department notified the State Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting. That is standard protocol when someone is shot by an officer.
Both police officers were wearing body cameras, the spokesperson said, and investigators have identified witnesses.
The Durham police officer was treated for injuries and released from the hospital, according to the spokesperson.
No other patients or hospital staff were injured, the spokesperson said, and no hospital or emergency department operations were interrupted.
Hospital officials are expected to provide an update Saturday morning, the spokesperson said.
Department’s use of force policy
According to the Duke University Police Department’s use of force guidelines, officers
▪ To protect officers or other people from a reasonable belief of an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury.
▪ To prevent a “fleeing subject” from escaping when there is probable cause to believe the person has committed or intends to commit a felony involving serious bodily injury or death.
▪ The officer believes there is “imminent risk” of serious bodily injury or death if the person isn’t immediately apprehended.
▪ The officer has considered other “reasonable means of apprehension.”
Officers involved in use of force incidents that result in serious injury or death are supposed to be placed on administrative leave with pay until they’re cleared to return to duty, the department’s policy states.
4th fatal shooting this month
On Saturday morning, the Durham Fraternal Order of Police said legal representation would be provided to the Duke University officer, and praised both officers.
“This situation could have been a lot worse had the threat not been stopped,” the police union said in a post on Twitter.
Friday’s shooting is the fourth by a law enforcement officer in the Triangle in January.
On Wednesday, Durham police officers responded to a Circle K convenience store in southern Durham where they shot and killed a 51-year-old man who police say was stabbing a store clerk with a glass bottle.
A day earlier, Raleigh police officers shot and killed a man after responding to a crash on I-440 involving multiple vehicles. Officers demanded the man drop a knife he was holding and used a taser to try to “diffuse the situation,” Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said on Tuesday.
The man was shot after he “swung the knife toward officers,” Patterson said.
A week earlier, on Jan 4., Durham County Sheriff’s Office deputies shot and killed a 28-year-old woman in Bahama in northern Durham after she allegedly pointed a shotgun at them.