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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Last month, Wilmington Police shot three armed robbery suspects as the men left the Pizza Hut on S. 17th St. Two of the suspects died. Now the district attorney says the officers were fully justified in their use of deadly force.

Police shot and killed Ronald Roland, 18, and Tevin Robinson, 20, and injured Jalani Smith, 20, after investigators say the trio robbed the Pizza Hut Oct. 25. Prosecutors say the men stole money, cell phones and keys. As they left, police were waiting.

The DA’s Shooting Review Team determined the six WPD officers who opened fire were justified because the men did not follow their commands. But with Smith still facing charges from the robbery, DA Ben David said he cannot release many more details about exactly what happened.

“We are not permitted to talk about the events immediately surrounding this incident even if we’re talking about two people who are deceased and aren’t going to be tried, because it could implicate Mr. Smith’s fair trial rights as well,” David said.

Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said last month the suspects ran toward the officers prompting the shooting. But last week North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber said the organization is concerned officers are becoming “judge, jury and executioner.”

“The NAACP is concerned with the pattern of street justice rather than courthouse justice that emerges from the study of these four cases,” Barber said Nov. 12 about a series of recent officer-involved shootings.

Chief Evangelous disagrees.

“Everyone has a right to their opinion. I respectfully disagree with that opinion,” Evangelous said. “I think our officers acted appropriately.”

David says people have nothing to fear from law enforcement as long as they follow the law.

“I urge the entire community to help cooperate while these officers are doing their job, because that’s how we’re truly safe,” David said.

We tried reaching out to Barber for his thoughts on the DA’s decision about this case, but he said he was not in town and never responded to our requests for a phone interview.

We also tried speaking with New Hanover County NAACP President Deborah Maxwell, but we never heard back.

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36 Comments on "DA: Officers justified in Pizza Hut shooting that killed two"

2015 years 10 months ago

Have the Officers involved in the shooting ever been made public. Has the lapdog local media ever asked?

2015 years 10 months ago

Tremendous job WPD!! If you shoot at an officer, the officer will shoot back at you regardless of your race and regardless of his race. Race should not play a factor. God rest their souls but being Black is not and should not be used as a poor excuse to commit a crime.

Old Guy
2015 years 10 months ago

Wait for Mr. Barber to come down here to the ocean and make racist comments about the state agency that investigated this incident. We have been talking around our household and have decided that we will start committing crimes so that we can get around the clock Law Enforcement protection. Where is our extra protection? Will we will tell you it is in and around the crime ridden areas of the scuz bucket neighborhoods that house drug dealers and gang members. It isn’t fair that we the Law abiding citizens of Wilmington and New Hanover County have to pay taxes and extra taxes for extra Law Officers to babysit the thugs and criminals of the inner city. Well here we go again the politicians will pour more of our tax money to a certain group of people and the rest of us that are considered racists will have to just shut up, grin and bear it! Just saying!

2015 years 10 months ago

Is it because they were black that the police were justified?
What if they had been white kids? With what were the robbers
armed and how were the police threatened?
Because the robbers didn’t follow orders their lives were taken?
When was the last time you ever heard of the police getting into hot water over excessive use of force? The Chief has a difference of opinion, really? Aren’t there standard operating procedures that must be followed? If you don’t think we live in a police state, think again. I hope the next time you don’t follow the speed limit you don’t lose your license.

Scott Pickey
2015 years 10 months ago

The District Attorney did – but we chose not to publish or air the names in fear that there might be retribution violence.

Not lap-dogging, just trying to be responsible.


Scott Pickey
WWAY News Director


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