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Officer cleared in suspect's shooting

Posted May 29, 2008

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— Authorities on Thursday cleared a Durham police officer of any wrongdoing in the January shooting of an armed man.

Officer James Cartwright was working off-duty in uniform at the Carriage House Apartments on Seven Oaks Road on Jan. 16 when he confronted an armed man who reportedly had been pointing a gun at people.

Cartwright shot Willard Scott Jr., 22, in the leg after the man refused to drop the weapon and began approaching Cartwright and other officers, police said.

Scott was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm, four counts of assault by pointing a gun, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of marijuana with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver.

Durham County District Attorney David Saacks said he reviewed a State Bureau of Investigation report on the incident and concluded that Cartwright "had a legitimate fear for his safety and was justified in firing his weapon."

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  • brooksc95 May 30, 2008

    I do not work for DPD anymore but I was in the academy with this officer and I KNOW what type of good hearted and positive offier he is. For anyone to question why he used his weapon or where he shot the suspect is 100% wrong. If you have previous LEO experience, you should know not to question another officers decision of where he shot a suspect. I thank God that Hoss is alive and Durham needs to be thankful for having him as an officer!

  • Groovy May 30, 2008

    'nuf said

  • Mr. John Q Public May 30, 2008

    Great, I'm glad to hear the officer was cleared. It's sad that he had to be investigated when the shooting was so obviously justified.

  • OnDaRoof May 30, 2008

    It's very easy to judge, but those that have fired a weapon before know that sometimes you anticipate the shot, thus "dropping" your first round. Police officers aren't perfect, and they're people just like you and I. If you're in the position that he was, your nerves will definitely kick in, unless you're Robocop.

    I know this officer personally, and know that he's a great person, as well as police officer. Glad to see everything turned out well Hoss.

  • Politically Honest NOT PC May 30, 2008

    The only question I have is why did he just shoot him in the leg? When I was a LEO we were taught to shoot for center mass.

  • dpcallah May 30, 2008

    Why was this even an issue?

  • bomanicous May 30, 2008

    Good job officer!!! Aim a little higher next time.