Raleigh officer fired 5 shots in fatal I-440 shooting. Police report details incident

·4 min read
Ethan Hyman/ehyman@newsobserver.com

A man killed by Raleigh police last week was shot at five times in roughly five seconds by the same officer, according to a Raleigh Police Department report on the fatal shooting.

Daniel Turcios, a 43-year-old native of El Salvador, died at the hospital, according to the report released by the city Wednesday.

The shooting took place Jan 11 after a crash on Interstate 440. The five officers who responded were identified in the report as R.C Job, A.A. Smith, K. G. Begin, D. W. Sigrist and Sergeant W.B. Tapscott.

Police say Turcios verbally refused to drop a knife as he walked away from the scene of the crash, stating “no” and shaking his head, though family members and activists have said he couldn’t understand their commands.

While Turcios continued walking away with the knife, officers followed him, telling him to drop the knife roughly 12 times, according to the report.

Tapscott then fired a Taser at Turcios, who fell to the ground, police said.

As officers tried to take him into custody, the report says he “swung the knife towards the officers, nearly making contact” with one of them.

Smith then fired his gun twice, striking Turcios, according to the report. When Turcios attempted to get back up and move toward Smith, the officer fired three more shots.

The time between the two sets of shots was about five seconds, police said.

The report does not specify if all five shots struck Turcios.

Turcios’ name is written as Jose Daniel Argueta Turicos in the police report, different from how his family and activists have spelled it. The News & Observer contacted a city spokesperson, who said she would check on the spelling.

The State Bureau of Investigations will investigate the shooting, while Raleigh police conduct an administrative investigation. Both are standard procedure for the department when an officer shoots someone.

Smith and Tapscott have been placed on administrative duty pendng the investigations, also standard procedure.

Raleigh police said they have petitioned a judge for the release of body camera footage from the five officers.

Activists, family say Turcios ‘disoriented’ after crash

At a Tuesday news conference before the report released, community advocates from Emancipate NC said the crash caused Turcios’ car to flip multiple times, rendering him unconscious.

In the aftermath, family and advocates said he was severely disoriented and confused. Turcios, who had a limited understanding of English, did not understand police commands, they said.

“(He) woke up extremely confused and disoriented, so confused and disoriented that he didn’t even respond to his wife when she spoke to him,” said Kerwin Pittman of Emancipate NC.

He added that the organization had spoken to eyewitnesses who supported their suspicion that Turcios was shot multiple times, even after he had fallen to the ground.

Dawn Blagrove, executive director of Emancipate NC, said a medical report provided to the family “clearly indicates that (Turcios) was shot multiple times.”

At the news conference, Pittman showed reporters a longer video of the shooting on a laptop and pointed out parts of the video in which he said Turcios was shot again while still on the ground.

The day of the shooting, police had said when officers arrived, they found Turcios carrying a knife that he refused to drop.

As he walked away, an officer used a Taser “to try to defuse the situation,” and officers moved to try to subdue him, Chief Estella Patterson said.

In a video recorded by a witness, Turcios was shot moments later, as he tried to get up.

Patterson said police shot him after he “swung a knife at officers.”

Knife did not justify shooting, Emancipate NC says

Blagrove said while Turcios “had a very small pocket knife,” it did not justify police shooting him.

“Let us be clear that (the knife) is being used to manipulate the tragic outcome,” she said. “Whether (Turcios) had a thumb pin or a kitchen knife ... he was not wielding (it) crazily trying to attack anyone.”

“He was walking, tased, falls to the ground ... and is murdered in front of his family,” she added. “That is the story here. That is what matters.”

Rosa Jerez, Turcios’ wife, told reporters in Spanish that her children were asking the officers not to kill their father.

“They murdered him in front of my children, in front of me,” Jerez said in Spanish. “He wasn’t doing anything to (the police.) I told them to leave him alone because he wasn’t doing anything; they didn’t listen to me! And he didn’t understand anything they told him. My children screamed at them not to kill him. They murdered him as if he was a dog. They didn’t care about him at all.”

Turcios immigrated from Olomega, a small town in southeastern El Salvador, to the U.S. in 2003, Jerez told The N&O.

He worked as a handyman, building and fixing kitchens, bathrooms and chimneys and doing other construction-related work, she said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting