Police officers said they often make a split-second decision when they shoot a suspect. To them, it is either kill or be killed.
"One thing people have to understand is that police officers don't wake up and say, 'I'm going to shoot somebody today.' That's the worst thing in the world that we even have to imagine," said Sgt. J.W. Mitchell, of the Franklinton Police Department.
Just two days after Christmas, Franklinton Police Officer Joseph Amos
shot and killed
Bobby Guy on his front porch. Amos said Guy was intoxicated and threatening him with a shotgun.
"Officer Amos loves his job. He loves helping people. He wouldn't hurt anyone without justification," Mitchell said.
However, Guy's family and some neighbors are concerned that police acted rashly.
"I think he could have shot him in his hands, in his legs, anywhere but right in the chest like that and completely kill him," neighbor Annie Laura Kearney said.
Raleigh Police Department attorney Dawn Bryant, who teaches officers a course on when and how to use deadly force, said an officer can use deadly force to protect his life or the life of another.
"They are trained to shoot at the biggest part of the body you can see, which is generally called center mass. A wounded person can kill you. You're shooting to stop the threat," she said.
Police said if they do not shoot, the call will likely go out as "officer down..."
In most cases, the officer is taken off the street and put on administrative duties. The state Bureau of Investigation is usually called to investigate. Since July 1996, they have investigated more than 200 police shootings.
Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.