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Chatham deputy cleared in shooting of drug trafficking suspect

Posted September 29, 2008
Updated September 30, 2008

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— The district attorney's office has cleared a Chatham County sheriff's deputy of any wrongdoing in the shooting of a suspected drug trafficker during an April raid.

Deputy J. Cruz shot and wounded the suspect while serving a search warrant for drugs at a home at 75 Irene Court in Siler City on April 14.

"Based on my review of the comprehensive investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, Deputy J. Cruz acted lawfully and reasonably to protect his own life and the lives of the other deputies on the scene," Kayley Taber, Chatham County managing assistant district attorney, said in a statement.

Cruz was the first deputy through the door and immediately encountered the suspect, who was holding a handgun, Taber said. The suspect did not obey orders to drop the gun, but instead, pointed it at Cruz.

"At that time, the deputy felt his life was in jeopardy and discharged his firearm, striking the suspect," Taber said. "I believe this action saved Deputy Cruz' life and was justified based on the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident."

Investigators recovered the handgun and determined that it was "operable, loaded, with the hammer back," Taber said.

A subsequent search of the mobile home turned up more than 7 kilograms of cocaine.

"This incident underscores the dangerous nature of the service of search warrants," Taber said. "We are all grateful that no officer was injured in this incident and applaud the professionalism of all involved."


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  • Tater Salad Sep 30, 2008

    It's okay cookie, we don't care what you have to compensate for with your little badge.

    You could always not read it next time ok?

    ODMP.org is waiting for you smiling face

  • Common Sense Man Sep 30, 2008

    "(same reason I was pulled for DUI at 7:20 am for doing nothing wrong - the idiot "thought" I was a criminal"

    I'd say that's about the 57th time I've heard that story on here.

  • Common Sense Man Sep 30, 2008

    "I'm surprised at chfdcpt's statement. What is your point?"

    He was being sarcastic.

  • 68_polara Sep 30, 2008


    I've been pulled over and respected the officer always promptly indicating that I have CCP and have always been treated with respect back. I certainly don't doubt that you have had bad experiences, respect goes both ways.

  • FairPlay Sep 30, 2008

    think, LEO or not if someone pointed a gun at you would you let them shoot you? I am a citizen who has done a ride along woth LEO's on duty and believe me it is not easy for little pay. Rethink your criticism and believe me you will thank a leo THE NEXT TIME YOU NEED ONE!!!!

  • Tater Salad Sep 30, 2008

    I love all the badge thumping examples that resraleigh called out and then sure enough here they come running in to defend one of their "brothers in blue" without personally knowing him but they know he must be "one of the good apples" as they always say.20

    Hey 68_polara - being a criminal doesn't have anything to do with dislike for cops. Here's an idea - cops consider EVERYONE a criminal until they have proven to themselves otherwise (same reason I was pulled for DUI at 7:20 am for doing nothing wrong - the idiot "thought" I was a criminal)

    As a result - people with common sense like me - feel that the opposite is true - every cop is a bad apple until I have been demonstrated to that they are not on a power trip with their badge and itty bitty gun (mine's bigger, I'll bet you money)

    Oh, and Chevelle - do you ride a hot air ballon on patrol? Because I'm sure with as much as you spew it would have plenty of fuel.

  • LocalYokel Sep 30, 2008

    was there video/audio recording of this shooting? maybe the LEO's are telling the truth?

  • Chevelle Mackaroy Sep 30, 2008

    "Going home at night must be a lonely and isolating experience."

    resraleigh-Speak for yourself. you will be the first one to run and hide under a bed waiting for the cops to get there when you hear something go bump in the night. You have no one fooled.

  • kitelover110 Sep 30, 2008

    I have known Deputy Cruz for several years (even before he became a Deputy) and have observed him in several training situations, He performed exactly as he has been trained - if confronted by an armed suspect, take immediate action to ensure the safety of himself and others.

    The bottom line is - if you don't want to be shot by an LEO, don't point a weapon at them.

    For Jose and the others on Sheriff Websters fine team - keep on being safe!!

  • lizard Sep 30, 2008

    resraleigh- we ALL care about ppl. Its why we do what we do.

    I knew the deputy was righteous on April 15th. Should have been decided then. The ppl that these long investigations are meant to impress won't believe it anyway. They're on the wrong side of the law to begin with.