Smithfield police: Officers shoot, kill gun-wielding suspect
Posted August 13, 2012
Smithfield, N.C. — Smithfield police shot and killed a Maryland man Sunday night who, they say, pointed a gun at officers and assaulted a man whom neighbors identified as his cousin.
Residents near 208 North St. said they heard two men arguing loudly and then gunshots around 9:30 p.m., and several people called 911.
Lt. R.K. Powell said that officers found Darryl C. Wiggins, who was holding a handgun, and an injured man – who the property owner identified as Maurice Wiggins – outside an upstairs apartment. Police said they ordered Darryl Wiggins to drop the gun, but he pointed it at them and threatened to kill the injured man, prompting officers to fire.
"When they arrived at the scene, they encountered Mr. Wiggins. He had the handgun," said police Lt. Keith Powell. "He refused to cooperate or follow any commands by the officers and was shot."
Darryl Wiggins, 47, of Baltimore, died at Johnston Medical Center, while the wounded man was taken there to be treated for head injuries. Authorities had not released his condition or identity Monday, but neighbors said his relatives told them that he and Darryl Wiggins were cousins.
The property owner, Ann Hobgood, said Maurice Wiggins had rented from her for a year without any problems.
"Never had any problems with him, no issues – extremely good tenant," she said.
Sherman Wiggins, Darryl Wiggins' brother, said he brought his brother to Smithfield to visit with family. He said he doesn't think his brother posed a real threat to anyone and that he believes he tried to surrender at some point.
"He didn't have to die," Sherman Wiggins said.
Residents described the shooting as a scary aberration in an historic neighborhood, largely full of owner-occupied homes.
"It was quite frightening. There was quite a standoff," said neighbor Laurie Burch.
She said her property backs up to the apartment building where the shooting happened.
"We were afraid. we couldn't believe it because we had been in the yard earlier," she said. "Plus, our bedroom is right in the back of our house."
The State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the shooting, and the officers involved were placed on administrative duty during the investigation. Both measures are standard procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting.
Powell said it was the first time during his 19 years as a law enforcement officer that a police force on which he serves was involved in a shooting.
"It's really nerve-wracking because you don't know who's been injured. It's a wait-and-see game," he said.