Local News

Man Dies After Wrestling With Raleigh Police Officers

Posted March 18, 2004

— Police are investigating an incident in the parking lot of a Raleigh shopping center.

Officials said 31-year-old Derek Shannon Haithcock stole a bottle and was acting strangely outside the Mission Valley shopping center Thursday. They said police officer C.M. Keeler tried to subdue Haithcock and they started wrestling.

"He [Haithcock] would have got away. He would hurt somebody. No doubt," witness Jerry Hailey said.

At one point, witnesses said Haithcock tried to grab Keeler's gun. Other officers and three witnesses jumped in to try to help Keeler.

After Haithcock was subdued, authorities said he had some sort of seizure. Officers administered first aid and called EMS, who responded to the scene and transported Haithcock to WakeMed, where he was subsequently pronounced dead.

"It didn't look like to me that the police did anything over excessive. They were just trying to hold him down," witness Tanner Lovelace said.

Later, a woman drove up to the scene, claiming to be the man's ex-wife.

"He came to the house last night and was acting erratic and was having hallucinations, and then I heard the news today," said Coleen Haithcock, Derek's ex-wife.

Coleen Haitcock said her ex-husband wanted to reunite with her. She believes her ex-husband may have been on drugs. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

The State Bureau of Investigation was notified and will conduct an investigation. The results of that investigation will be forwarded to Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby for review. The officers involved in the incident will be temporarily placed on administrative duties.

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