Raleigh police: Suspect who was killed had handgun, struggled with officer

Story highlights

  • Police release report describing what officer says happened when he killed Akiel Denkins
  • Medical examiner says Denkins was shot four times, once in the chest
  • Denkins' family believes he was running away and shot from behind, CNN affiliates report

(CNN)A North Carolina man killed by a police officer this week allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband before the officer shot the suspect, according to a report from Raleigh's police chief.

In the report, Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy told investigators that he recognized Akiel Denkins and knew he was wanted on drug charges. A chase ensued and the officer said that during the struggle he thought Denkins was trying to shoot him, so he fired his gun.
Twiddy also said he felt that after the first shots, Denkins tried to take the officer's gun, so Twiddy shot him again.
    Police found a stolen handgun at the scene, said the report, written by Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown.
    Denkins , 24, of Raleigh, was shot four times, including once in the right chest, according to preliminary autopsy results from the state medical examiner. He was also shot in the left forearm, right upper arm and right shoulder.
    Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said the medical examiner's office still is analyzing the path of the bullets that struck Denkins and couldn't say whether the bullets were fired from in front or behind the suspect.
    Denkins' family has told CNN affiliates WTVD and WNCN they believe he was shot in the back while running away.
    The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's probe into forensic evidence and witness accounts also is ongoing. The report said the officer's patrol car dash camera didn't record the incident.
    "This investigation is far from over," Freeman said.

    No known video of the incident

    The 29-year-old officer, who has worked for the department since 2009, is on administrative duty as the SBI investigates the shooting, Raleigh police said.
    Freeman said there is no video of the shooting and asked witnesses who have not spoken to investigators to come forward.
    "We are still talking to people in the community. Different people think they saw different things," she said.
    The police chief's report said there is no witness to the entire encounter.

    NAACP: Don't 'dehumanize' suspect

    The head of the state NAACP on Tuesday urged reporters not to "dehumanize" Denkins. The Rev. William J. Barber II did not dispute that Denkins was the subject of a warrant or had an arrest record, saying, "All human beings (have) fault."
    "But (neither) a warrant nor an arrest warrant is a license to kill," Barber added.
    Dozens of protesters marched later that day from the neighborhood where the shooting occurred to a courthouse in downtown Raleigh. Police escorted the demonstrators as they walked along the streets, blocking traffic, CNN affiliate WTVD reported.