Local News

Durham officers cleared of wrongdoing in fatal shooting of suicidal man

Posted December 17, 2018 2:18 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2018 7:43 p.m. EST

— Two Durham police officers who shot and killed an armed man in August won't face criminal charges.

Shaun Jeffery Christy, 37, of Carrboro, was killed Aug. 8 when he pointed a gun at Durham police at the New Hope Commons shopping center and the officers opened fire on him, police said.

Cpl. B.M. Glover and Officer G.F. Paschall were justified in shooting Christy, Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols determined in late October.

"Probable cause does not exist to believe that Officer Glover or Paschall committed a criminal offense," Echols wrote in an Oct. 31 letter to the State Bureau of Investigation, which reviewed the shooting. "The facts clearly indicate that Officer Glover and Officer Paschall were justified in using deadly force."

Christy was upset over a domestic situation and had called the Orange County Sheriff’s Office several times on Aug. 8 in an attempt to speak to his wife, who was in jail, according to a police report.

Christy told deputies he wanted to speak to his wife so "she could hear the gunshot when he killed himself," the report states.

Following Christy’s calls to authorities, Durham police arranged for delivery of involuntary psychiatric commitment papers.

When officers approached Christy in the New Hope Commons parking lot to deliver the papers, he began "pacing erratically with the firearm pointed to his head," the report states.

Police video released Monday show the fatal encounter.

"We have a subject that is suicidal, possibly armed with a handgun and has threatened suicide by cop," one officer says in video recorded by his body-worn camera.

They found Christy's truck in the parking lot, and his landlord shared a text from him.

"Having a bad day, you don't know the meaning of the (expletive) word. I mean, trying to get the cops to shoot me for the last hour," the landlord tells police.

Police tracked Christy's phone and searched the area.

"The thing is, he's roaming around unhinged with a handgun possibly," one officer tells another. "He's definitely a danger to himself and the community. We can't just leave without having done everything we can possibly do."

Seconds later, they spotted him.

"We're out in front of Best Buy with a subject. He's pointing something at us. We don't know what it is," an officer tells his supervisors on the radio.

Officers tried to de-escalate the situation, yelling at him to calm down, but they drew their weapons when it became clear he was holding a gun.

"Shaun, we're not going to shoot you. We're not going to shoot you," various officers yell out.

Multiple officers pleaded with him to drop the gun.

"Drop the gun buddy. Come on, come on, Shaun," one yells.

As he approaches the officers waving the gun, he can be heard yelling "shoot me," and then officers fire multiple gunshots.

"Drop it, Shaun. Drop it, Shaun. Shots fired, shots fired. Hold your fire, hold your fire."

Officers then performed CPR on Christy until paramedics arrived. He was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Although they have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing, Glover and Garrett Paschal remain on administrative duty while an internal investigation by the Durham Police Department continues.

Glover has been with the Durham Police Department for 12 years, while Paschall joined the department three years ago.

WRAL-TV was part of a consortium of local news outlets that asked the court to release the police video in the interest of public transparency.