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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"

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Guest2020
2016 years 2 months ago

You seem to be implying that the police rely on the news media to keep them up to date on the identities of those committing crimes. I guess you think the police are stupid enough to do that. I guess you decided not to take into account that it is the police that provides the news media with descriptions of vehicles and identities of the suspects.

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Guesttoo
2016 years 2 months ago

If you are inferring that the cause of the shooting was the color of their skin…rather than the cause being their actions…well, that’s pretty pathetic.

The DA was pretty clear. Shots were fired by the cops because a(nother?) violent crime was in progress and because they presented a threat by failing to follow orders. I’m willing to bet that if a white guy with a gun went running towards a cop and ignored the command to stop, he(she) would be equally shot.

I am encouraged to that you acknowledge that they were robbers.

Guest
211
2016 years 2 months ago

IN MY OPINION, MR. PICKEY, YOU DID THE RIGHT THING BY NOT NAMING THE OFFICERS, BUT THE GREAT STAR-NEWS DID IN TODAYS PAPER. THIS PUTS THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES IN HARMS WAY. NO WONDER NO ONE ADMITS TO WITNESSING A CRIME. BUT I GUESS ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS GETTING IT ALL OUT THERE FIRST.

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PublicAvenger
2016 years 2 months ago

“Minority” Are you implying that it’s not safe for a black man to come to Wilmington, because of the Police ? Because of this ? You’ve got to be kidding.

I guess it’s not, if he goes into a restaurant, with a gun in his hand, threatening people’s lives. Then again, it would be the same situation, if it was a white Armed Robbing, dangerous, thug, criminal.

It’s time to do like the Police, The DA, and the State Bureau of Investigation, did. Look beyond skin color (if you can) and look squarely at the facts of the situation.

Sorry if you feel… Read more »

Guest
worried
2016 years 2 months ago

Yea I guess your so worried because innocent people are shot by LE in Wilmington all the time, not just when robbing pizza hut or after shooting an officer and then trying to flee, or when a car full of armed robbers tries to run over officers. Name all the instances when wilmington LE shot an innocent citizen. (only one i can think of was the kid shot while holding playstation controller, even though he wasnt quite that innocent. But because it was white officer shooting white kid we heard no voice or uproar from the black communitities or NAACP)… Read more »

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