D.A. says Jacksonville police fatal shooting of teen justified

D.A. justifies officer-involved shooting of teen
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 9:50 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 5:39 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Onslow County’s district attorney says the November shooting death of a teenager in November was justified.

District Attorney Ernie Lee held a news conference to release his findings this morning after an SBI investigation into the shooting.

Last November 8th, a Jacksonville police officer shot and killed Jorge Miguel Lopez.

The deadly shooting happened as two plain-clothes officers spotted a car passing other vehicles in the center turn lane of Western Boulevard and made a U-turn in front of oncoming traffic.

After a chase, the car crashed on White Street and police said there was an “armed encounter a short distance from the car”.

Lee explained that three of the four people in the car ran, while Lopez was struggling to get out of the front passenger seat.

While one of the officers began running after the three, the other officer approached the car, according to the D.A.

The detective said he yelled “Police! Get on the ground,” but as Lopez got closer, the officer said he saw a gun in his left hand.

Lee said at this point the two were 7-10 feet from each other, and the detective continued to give loud commands.

At one point, Lee said the teen turned, raised his left arm, and pointed the handgun at the detective. At this point the officer fired four shots at the teen, believing Lopez was going to shoot him. said the district attorney.

Police said Lopez was conscious and made several statements immediately after the shooting. “I’m too young for this, please don’t let me die,” said Lopez. “Why did you shoot me? I don’t want to die.”

Lee said Lopez’s gun was found at the scene and it was not loaded. He said the officer would not have known that the gun wasn’t loaded and that police found cocaine & marijuana in the car,

The district attorney said there was no evidence the number of shots fired at the teen was excessive.

“I have determined that the shooting of Lopez on November 8th, 2022 was justified to protect the safety and lives of the officers on scene,” Lee said.

The 17-year-old died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, according to his death certificate.