Officer Michelle Peele, 33, was working off-duty security at La Rosa Linda's Mexican Restaurant on New Bern Avenue Sunday morning when investigators said she saw a man driving off with her car.
Police said Peele shot into the car, hitting Nyles Arrington, who then crashed into a parked car and landed in the median. Arrington, who had an extensive criminal record, later died at WakeMed.
"It is another death. It's sad and unfortunate," said Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby. "We'll review it and hold it to the same standards we do other cases."
Willoughby said Peele would not be treated any differently because she is a police officer.
In September 2003, Raleigh police officer J.R. Reyes was criminally charged after he fired into a moving vehicle and injured a suspect. He later pleaded guilty to improperly discharging a firearm.
"We have had cases in the county where the use of force by a police officer is prosecuted because it's inappropriate, and those where it was not," Willoughby said. "But it turns on the facts of the case, and that's what we'll look at in this case."
In addition to the criminal investigation, the Internal Affairs Division of the Raleigh Police Department will look at whether Peele violated department policy. In August 2004, Police Chief Jane Perlov put into place a policy that prohibits officers from firing into moving vehicles unless someone's life is in danger. It also prohibits officers from walking into the path of a moving vehicle.
There is no timetable as to when the SBI will finish its investigation, but the Raleigh Police Department is required to provide a detailed report on the incident to the city manager by Friday.
Peele, who is a bike officer in downtown Raleigh, is now assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.
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