DA: No charges for officers accused of killing FL evacuee at Huntersville hospital

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Two officers who are accused of shooting and killing a man who was reportedly armed with a gun inside a Huntersville hospital in September will not face any charges, the district attorney announced Thursday.

According to the Huntersville Police Department, the man, identified by the SBI as 76-year-old Joseph Charles Cook, fired multiple shots around 11:40 p.m. inside the Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center along the 10030-block of Gilead Road on Sept. 10.

The DA says Cook allegedly fired multiple shots inside a hospital room prior to police being called.

Cook then reportedly disappeared in a corridor and police began a manhunt.

While searching the area, police say they "encountered the man still armed with the gun." Officers said an encounter ensued and multiple shots were fired because they felt "threatened by the man's actions."

Cook was pronounced dead on scene, Huntersville police say. The SBI said Cook was a Hurricane Irma evacuee and was traveling from Florida to New York due to the storm.

On Thursday, the DA announced that the officers "acted within the bounds of the law." According to the DA, "a police officer - or any other person - is justified in using deadly force if he 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."

Hospital officials say this was the first active shooter incident at the hospital.


The DA said a gun was recovered near Cook's body. He reportedly purchased the gun in 2011.

The SBI identified the Huntersville police officers involved in the shooting as 32-year-old Michael Joseph and 27-year-old Travis Watts.The hospital was temporarily blocked off for some time that night.

The officers who were involved were placed on administrative leave following the shooting.

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