Police release video from deadly shooting of teenager in Charlot - | WBTV Charlotte

Police release video from deadly shooting of teenager in Charlotte

Screenshot from officer worn body camera video released by CMPD Screenshot from officer worn body camera video released by CMPD
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police has released video around the deadly shooting of a teenager reportedly involved in a separate shooting on a Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus in June 2016.

According to officers, they were called to the 7800-block of North Tryon Street on June 2 in reference to a person shot on a CATS bus. The caller told police the suspect got off the bus and started walking away. 

When officers arrived, they found 18-year-old Rodney Rodriguez Smith, who matched the description of the shooter. They say Smith was armed with a handgun and during the encounter "perceived [him to be] an imminent deadly threat and fired their service weapons."

PREVIOUS ARTICLE: 18-year-old shot, killed by officers after bus shooting in Charlotte

Smith died at the scene.

“The heroic actions of these officers very likely protected other members of our community from additional harm," CMPD Chief of Police Kerr Putney said shortly after the shooting. "This is yet another illustration of the commitment of our officers who serve selflessly to keep our community safe.”

Earlier this month, a court order petition for the release of recordings around the incident was requested. The video was released by Thursday afternoon by CMPD.

**EDITOR'S NOTE: The videos embedded below were released by CMPD and are posted in their entirety as provided by the police department to WBTV. Some of the following audio and video files contain graphic images and language and may be disturbing to some viewers.**

OFFICER BELL BODY CAM VIDEO:

OFFICER TRYON BODY CAM VIDEO:

"We support the decision by North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jesse Caldwell to release the video in its entirety. In keeping with department protocol, we do not oppose the release of video evidence after a case has been thoroughly investigated and adjudicated," CMPD said in a statement Thursday. "Our preference is to always allow for a thorough investigation with the intent to have all sides presented."

District Attorney R. Andrew Murray said there is "no dispute" that officers Michael Bell and Garret Tryon fired their weapons and killed Smith. 

Additional Body Camera Videos (warning the videos are graphic): Officer Kivette body camera video | Officer Ross body camera video

"Therefore, the central issue in this review is whether or not the officers were justified under North Carolina law in using deadly force," Murray continued. "A police officer – or any other person – is justified in using deadly force if the officer reasonably believed, and in fact believed, that he or another person was in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death from the actions of the person who is shot."

According to Murray, the evidence in the case supports the conclusion that Smith "pointed and fired a gun at Officer Tryon and consequently, the officers were justified in using deadly force to stop the attack and defend themselves."

"Under the law, when using deadly force, the justification of using force includes all force necessary to end the threat," he continued. "In this case, officers fired a number of times and struck Smith five times. The number of shots was not excessive given the clear nature of the threat."

Additional dash camera video released by CMPD: Officer Kiefer in police cruiser video

Murray said he determined the shooting was justified and agreed with CMPD's decision not to seek charges against either officer.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave while the investigation was ongoing, which is standard procedure during an officer-involved shooting.

The person reportedly shot by Smith on the CATS bus was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with minor injuries. Detectives said they believed Smith and the bus victim knew each other and it was not a random act of violence.

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