Local News

Police: Officer who shot, killed drug suspect is 29-year-old senior officer

Posted February 29, 2016
Updated March 1, 2016

— A Raleigh police officer killed a drug suspect fleeing arrest Monday afternoon, Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said.

Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy was chasing a man on foot who was wanted on a felony drug charge and ended up shooting him, Deck-Brown said. The shooting occurred shortly after noon near the intersection of Bragg and East streets.

Twiddy, 29, who is white, has been employed by the Raleigh Police Department since 2009 and is assigned to the Field Operations Division. He has been placed on administrative leave, pending the completion of an investigation.

A gun was found "in close proximity to" the dead man, the chief said. Police have not said whether the gun belonged to the man or whether he threatened Twiddy.

Police haven't released the name of the shooting victim, but Rolanda Byrd told WRAL News that it was her 24-year-old son, Akiel Denkins, who had an outstanding warrant.

"They killed my son for no reason," a distraught Byrd said. "Everybody out here said he was running, didn't have a gun, (was) trying to jump a fence, and that officer shot my son seven times. For what? For nothing."

Raleigh police said that positive identification of the deceased man was not expected to be completed until Tuesday.

Denkins, who was black, had been convicted three times on drug offenses, according to the state Department of Public Safety. There were pending charges against him from last fall of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and probation violations.

A woman who asked not to be identified said the foot chase started when a man took off as he was approached by a police officer. The man ignored the officer's demands to stop, the woman said, and chase went over one fence and turned deadly after a second fence.

"When they got to the tall fence, the boy jumped the tall fence, but the police couldn't," the woman said. "When the police went to jump over the tall fence, he fell. When he fell, he just started shooting his gun."

Tension high in neighborhood

Denkins was well-known in the community. He had two sons, ages 3 and 2, was working on his GED through the Neighbor to Neighbor program and hoped to become a carpenter.

"He could have been my son. I treated him like my son. I've fed him at my church before. Now, he's lying back there dead," said Rev. Chris Jones, pastor of Ship of Zion Church, which is about four blocks from the shooting scene.

Crowds of people milled about amid the dozen or so police cruisers that blocked off the neighborhood as investigators spent much of the afternoon collecting evidence and witness statements from the shooting scene.

"The mood around here is more along the lines of people are just frustrated, angry, upset and disappointed," said Casanova Womack, who lives in the neighborhood. "A lot of guys around here are saying what you've probably heard before – "Why call the cops if the cops won't even come down?' and 'Instead of protect and serve, kill.'"

Jones was among several clergy members who tried to quell anger in the crowd, but he said he is disheartened by the shooting.

"It's going to damage the relationship with police," Jones said. "Even I have to fear. Even me, because of my color, now I've got to fear, when before I had a great relationship with officers."

Jones said that Denkins did not have to die.

"If he ran from you today, you could have arrested him tomorrow. Why did you have to kill him today," he said.

Monday night, hundreds gathered in the streets not far from where Denkins was killed.

"He's gone. Why? Because of the color of his skin," said Minister Brenda Ginger.

There were tears, signs, and candles as people held a vigil before marching through the streets, but there was also growing outrage in the crowd.

"We are sick and tired of being sick and tired," said Ginger."It is time for change. It is time for all of us to get together and say no to the injustice."

While the shooting brought the crowd together, some of the emotion felt Monday night came from a deeper place and had been building for some time.

"They want to lock you up as a modern-day slave," said community leader Diana Powell. "This is a very defining moment."

The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to review the shooting. Deck-Brown said the Raleigh Police Department's Internal Affairs unit will investigate whether any departmental policies were violated.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman asked people to be patient during the investigation.

"We certainly understand that people have a right to come out and have their voices to be heard," Freeman said. "These investigations take some time, and in order for a proper investigation to be done, we do need the public's cooperation and patience."

The shooting was the first involving a Raleigh police officer in more than a year. The North Carolina NAACP issued a statement Monday night calling for "a full and thorough investigation to be conducted, no matter where it leads."

Marcel Leroy Jordan was shot once in the torso on Dec. 17, 2014, at Family Preservation Services of North Carolina on Barrett Drive after he refused to drop a pair of scissors as he moved toward two officers, police said. A stun gun was initially used but was ineffective, police said. No charges were filed against the officer.

Body camera discussion delayed

Deck-Brown was supposed to make a presentation to the Raleigh City Council on Monday about her officers using body cameras, but the item was removed from the council agenda when the chief had to go to the shooting scene.

"It was really to update us on all the information our police department has been working hard to gather, from expectations to how we would roll out this program," Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said.

"I don’t know if it would have made a difference," McFarlane said of body cameras and Monday's shooting. "The primary thing is we don’t want this situation to happen in the first place, cameras or not."

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the shooting is the latest evidence that police body cameras are needed.

"Far too many people of color are victims of wrongful targeting and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers across the country, and North Carolina is not immune to that reality," Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement. "On a day when the Raleigh City Council was scheduled to discuss officer-worn body cameras, this shooting points to the urgent need for North Carolina’s second-largest city’s police department to adopt this crucial technology and an accompanying policy that guarantees it will be used to promote officer accountability and transparency."


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  • Bill Mooney Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    Let's wait for the facts but let's remember that Chicago waited 4-years - after mayoral elections - to release the video of officers shooting a man in the back. And to those who argue that the police can shoot someone if they say "stop" and the suspect doesn't listen - that's absurd. Even if the suspect is a known criminal that doesn't make it ok to use deadly force. By those standards, Ammon Bundy and his band of armed wackos should have been shot dead an hour after occupying the Oregon wildlife refuge. Ok, y'all can get back to your Trump-loving racism now.

  • Rose Gruber Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    Again, a criminal running from police when they said STOP!! Again a criminal with warrants out on him and the criminal also violated his probation. My sympathies go out to his mom for the heartbreak her son has caused her!! Obviously she has been through a lot with him over the years. This adult was a criminal and it is ashame he met his demise at such an early age. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  • Lamario Kelly Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    First off, I'm from Raleigh, born and raised so for the ones who want to comment and know nothing, please have several seats. Yes, this young man shouldn't have ran, but I didn't know running means that you have to shoot to kill...if he was a dope boy then you would have seen him again and at the point you could have arrested him, why kill him dead and on top of that shoot him in the back, not much respect for the RPD...black/white/Hispanic it doesn't matter shooting someone in the back is a coward move and this officer should but won't be fired!

  • Steve Clark Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    April - I sincerely respect your position and posting those pictures. I can only imagine how much pressure you must feel to "defend your race." I hope you are a leader in your community, I suspect your opinion isn't welcomed, but needed. As a white person, one thing I feel pretty sure about; the answer to the 'problem in black neighborhoods' won't be found by "white people". I hope and pray things won't blow up tonight in Raleigh. I hope more black leaders start coming forward and recognize that THOUSANDS of black people are being killed every day, and Not by white cops. The crumbling family unit, generational disdain for authority... these are problems that can only be solved from within.

  • Carol Coe Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    Can someone please explain to me why the NAACP keeps screaming about bad guys getting shot and they have yet to interven when the 2 year old was killed,the 13 year old in her bed, the 18 month old doing nothing and the 9 year old girl who lost her eye. Why are they not in an uproar about these shootings

  • Leslie Rossner Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    I am sorry for the loss of the individual and for his family. However, plain and simple, if the police ask you to stop, then stop. It's just that easy.

  • April Williams Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    http://tinyurl.com/zkh4wd5 here's the gang photos his family are covering up, they forgot to mention this while on TV!!

  • Doug Smallen Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    Lots of assumptions already made, who told the mother her son was shot in the back. if not she will look a fool as the other people assuming these rumors.

  • Marty Baker Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    There's a much lower chance of being killed by police if you don't break the law. I know this is a foreign concept to some people.

  • New Holland Mar 1, 2016
    user avatar

    Police aren't robots, they can read and know what the statistics say about criminals and whether they are black, white , or pink they run when they don't want to face the consequences of their actions and become desperate. Yes, the police could have stopped pursuing this man and said we'll get him later, what would have the story been if he'd have carjacked a car a few blocks over and killed the driver.