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Conflicting stories arise after Durham man's shooting death

Posted August 5, 2013
Updated August 6, 2013

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— Residents of Durham's Old East and Walltown neighborhoods issued a public statement Monday questioning the actions of a police officer who shot a man a little more than a week ago.

Officer R.S. Mbuthia was put on administrative leave with pay after he fired the shot that killed Jose Ocampo. The leave is standard procedure, and he will not be back on patrol until the State Bureau of Investigation completes its look into the shooting.

The official story is that police were investigating a report of a stabbing in the 700 block of Park Avenue when Ocampo approached, bleeding and carrying a knife, and refused to surrender his weapon.

Ocampo's family attorney, Scott Holmes, said an independent investigation found three eyewitnesses who said Ocampo was waiting in front of his home to talk to officers about an altercation. When the officers saw a knife in his back pocket, they drew their guns and ordered him to throw it down. Ocampo was shot when he tried to hand over the knife, handle first, Holmes said. 

Jennifer Spencer, who lived next door to Ocampo, said it's not the first altercation in the neighborhood.

"I think in that particular incident the officer walked into an already particularly bad situation," Spencer said. 

Aliyah Abdur-Rahman Neighbors question why police shot man with knife

Representatives of a group called Communities in Partnership questioned the police account of events and said that authorities did not bother to talk to them. They issued a statement Monday, saying, "No one who witnessed the shooting finds the chief’s public account of the events credible."

"Lots of people witnessed it, even children, and police didn’t take the opportunity to see how the community viewed it and what the community witnessed,"  said Aliyah Abdur-Rahman.

Spencer is not so sure. She was inside her house at the time of the shooting and says not many people were around.

"It seemed like all of the sudden nobody knew anything, and now all of the sudden everyone knows everything," she said.

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  • stymieindurham Aug 9, 2013

    "It seemed like all of the sudden nobody knew anything, and now all of the sudden everyone knows everything," she said.
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    This is exactly how it happens. You're at a traumatic scene and "no one" saw anything. Then there are those who "refuse" to get involved. So what do you do? Your investigation is based upon what "little" information is provided!!! Don't blame the police (just yet). Blame those that don't want to "snitch".

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 8, 2013

    "Don't know about the other poster, but in MY world the police are just like everyone else, no better, no worse."

    Absolutely agree with this however keep in mind the people cops have to interact with in such issues are rarely the average person and are usually repeat violent offenders, I think what would be very relevant here is what kind of record did this person have if any? But also keep in mind that an officer confronting someone doesn't have the luxury to know who they are dealing with.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 7, 2013

    "Just asking for some mere proof instead of speculation." - thepeopleschamp


    While I don't know how common place it is, there are plenty of cases of cops lying about a variety of things, including shootings.


    "Innocent until proven guilty, right? Or is that just for everyone except police in your world?" - thepeopleschamp


    Don't know about the other poster, but in MY world the police are just like everyone else, no better, no worse. Some tend to think they can do no wrong, or their word carries more weight.

  • thepeopleschamp Aug 7, 2013

    "So it has to be a conviction, and it has to be in North Carolina, before you'll believe that cops will lie about a shooting?" Lightfoot3

    My point was the previous post made it sound common place that cops lie about shootings regularly. If it is so common then examples would be plentiful. Just asking for some mere proof instead of speculation. Innocent until proven guilty, right? Or is that just for everyone except police in your world?

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 6, 2013

    Can't imagine being a cop in this PC age.

  • getitright0220 Aug 6, 2013

    WRAL fails to mention that when EMS arrived the man was lying face down...still holding the knife BY THE HANDLE and EMS had to remove it! They also failed to mention that there were 3 men from the neighborhood on the seen that witnessed and can verify the officer’s story!

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 6, 2013

    "Then please provide several, or even a few examples, of officers convicted in NC for lying about a shooting" - thepeopleschamp


    So it has to be a conviction, and it has to be in North Carolina, before you'll believe that cops will lie about a shooting?


    Don't know what happened here, but if the dude really was trying to hand them the knife, handle first, then the shooting wasn't justified.


    Again, all cop/citizen interaction needs to be videotaped. It's cheap technology that protects the cops and the citizens from speculation.

  • jdkey Aug 6, 2013

    Ocampo's family attorney

    Sounds like this is a case4 of ( show me the money )

  • thepeopleschamp Aug 5, 2013

    "Cops lying after shooting someone? NOOOOOO wayyy. This is a first. LOL" iseedebtpeople

    Is it really that common in NC? Then please provide several, or even a few examples, of officers convicted in NC for lying about a shooting. If there are so many there must be a lot of examples. I can't wait to read them. Or is this another broad generalization of police with no facts to back it up?

  • sunshine1040 Aug 5, 2013

    Was the man told to drop the knife If yes did he. Sorry you loose drop the darn knife and your family would have nothing to complain about

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