Family questions why Wake deputy killed suicidal man
Posted February 14, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — The family of a man killed Saturday by a Wake County deputy says the man didn't pose a threat and was only seeking help when he was gunned down.
First Class Deputy Tavares Thompson shot Adam Wade Carter, 25, twice in the chest shortly after responding to a 911 call from Carter's home off Leesville Road stating that he was trying to kill himself, according to authorities and Carter's family.
"Twice in the chest is not how you handle a situation with someone who's looking for help," Thomas Boykin, a friend of Carter's said Tuesday.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said after the shooting that Carter confronted Thompson with a knife, so the deputy had to use deadly force.
Boykin, who called 911 along with Carter's aunt, said Carter was drunk and stumbled toward the deputy but never raised the knife. He said his friend was so disturbed that he even told the deputy to shoot him.
"He didn't have any threatening mannerisms. He had (the knife) down by his waist. He was drunk," Boykin said. "There were no negotiations. (The deputy) told him to drop it, and that's all he said. He said, 'Drop it or I'll shoot,' and within two minutes of him walking through the door, it was all over with."
Carla Murdock said her nephew had a paring knife and wasn't threatening anyone but himself.
"He was just crying out for help," Murdock said.
The Wake County Sheriff's Office has no policy for dealing with drunk or suicidal suspects. It states that "force should be used only when all other means of resolving a situation have been exhausted or are clearly inapplicable."
Thompson has been placed on administrative duty, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, pending the results of a State Bureau of Investigation review of the incident.
Carter's family said they hope the investigation causes the sheriff's office to change its policies.
"If something good doesn't come out of this for Adam, I don't think I'll be able to trust the police anymore," said Carter's sister, Martina Archer. "If you can't call 911 and actually feel safe, then there's no point in even dialing the number."