WPD officer on paid leave after Creekwood shooting

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington Police detective is on paid administrative leave as the department reviews his involvement in a shooting that injured a New Hanover County Sheriff's detective yesterday in Creekwood.

The two detectives, members of the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force, were approaching two men in Creekwood when investigators say one of the men, Brandon Devone Smith, started shooting, hitting NHSO Det. Michael Spencer.

WPD says its detective, whose name the department is not releasing because he works undercover, returned fire. He was not hurt.

"It's department protocol to investigate every officer-involved shooting," Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said in a statement.

While a preliminary review shows that the WPD officer appears to have followed procedure, Evangelous says a careful review of the incident is always necessary.

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I am extremely proud of and grateful for all of our law enforcement officers. Contrary to what many people who comment on this site seem to believe, solving the problem of violence (especially gang violence) is not as simple as "rounding them all up and locking them away" as one person suggested. To begin with, how do you determine who is one of "them?" Law enforcement has a very tough job, and they are literally putting their lives on the line every day as they try to combat this issue. The main point I would like to make though, is that they cannot do it without our (the community) help. They can respond to reports and patrol neighborhoods, but it is our job as a community to try to stop this kind of violence before it ever starts.

If people want to help be a part of the solution, get involved with programs that reach out to at-risk youth. Volunteer as a mentor with programs similar to the Boys & Girls Clubs that give children alternatives to hanging out on the street where they are vulnerable. Most of all, please educate yourselves about the culture of poverty and how it leads to increased violence. Unless society decides to do more to eliminate poverty, we can expect this to continue. Gang life is not just a choice that these people make instead of other life paths; gang life is most often the only life course that these people are led to believe that they have as an option. Let's work harder to change that. Instead of saying things like "they should just drop a bomb on Creekwood and solve the problem," as one person wrote, why not get involved in an outreach program that seeks to involve kids living in places like Creekwood in positive activities to help instill enough self-confidence and self-worth in them so that they can say no to the gang life. In other words, stop posting hateful, negative and ultimately racist comments on the internet and DO something to help society.

If only people did get involve - your advice and assessment are very accurate. However, since the government has become more actively involved in taking care of people from cradle to grave, there are very few people who feel like they "need" to get involved since it is easier to depend on the government - in this case, the police - to fix their problems like some type of parent to child. It is also easier to fix the blame on "the police", "the government" , "them" since it requires no effort to do anything except complain. I wish people were more civic minded, cared about their neighborhoods and providing a good community for themselves and others but, as long as we expect somebody else to fix things for us, we'll keep watching this society fall apart!