WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The two Wilmington police officers involved in a deadly shooting in May will not face charges.
District Attorney Ben David and Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous held a news conference on Friday morning to discuss a timeline of events that led to the shooting of Gerard Tremblay, 62.
“We can say with absolute certainty, that no officer should be criminally charged in this case,” David said.
On May 29, officers responded to a call for assistance at a home on Owens Drive regarding a man threatening to take his life and harm his wife.
“Those who serve and protect must use deadly force, only as a last resort,” David said. “That situation was present on May 29th in the Pine valley neighborhood.”
Ann Tremblay told 911 her husband was inside their home, barricaded in the left back bedroom, armed with a revolver. When she tried to talk her husband out of committing suicide, he fired a shot into the ceiling of their bedroom. He told his wife that he would hurt her or himself if she called 911. At that point, she left the home and called 911 from the backyard.
She reported that her husband had been drinking and she was petrified of what he might do.
Officers Brian Wilson and Scott Bramley arrived and positioned themselves by the gate of a fence that surrounds the backyard and watched as Tremblay came in and out of the home several times.
“By all accounts, of the people I’ve talked to, Mr. Tremblay was a fine person,” Evangelous said. “A good man on the worst day of his life.”
At one point, Tremblay came out with a gun. The officers ordered Tremblay to “raise your hands” and “get your hands up!” Tremblay tossed the gun on the ground, then pulled another gun from his shorts.
He went back into his home and came back out still armed with the gun and waving it above his head.
Throughout the entire standoff, which lasted approximately eight minutes, Officer Wilson and Officer Bramley ordered Tremblay to drop his weapon at least 70 times.
Non-lethal assistance was requested, as well as EMS, neither of which arrived in time.
Officer body camera footage continued to record the officers repeatedly order Tremblay to put down his weapon.
Tremblay told the officers his wife was divorcing him and repeatedly told them to shoot him.
The officers repeatedly told him, “We don’t want to,” and “It doesn’t have to go like this.”
At one point, Tremblay stood on the deck facing the officers with the gun in his right hand in the air above his head.
Officer Wilson told Tremblay “We are here to help you” and Tremblay replied “No you are not,” and “Shoot me now, do it,do it!”
“Throughout the entire standoff, which lasted approximately eight minutes, Officer Wilson and Officer Bramley ordered Mr. Tremblay to drop his weapon at least 70 times,” Assistant District Attorney Christa Lawler said.
He then pointed the pistol directly at Officer Wilson and Officer Bramley.
At that point, they fired their weapons to protect themselves, other officers, and innocent
“Our officers did exactly how we train them,” Evangelous said. “Don’t push the situation. Keep distance. Establish dialogue. Try to deescalate the situation. They did exactly that, and unfortunately, we don’t have successes every time.”
WPD and the district attorney requested the SBI investigate the shooting. After reviewing the results of that investigation, David determined no officer will be criminally charged.
“Mr. Tremblay’s death, while regrettable, is attributable solely to his suicidal and homicidal conduct that left officers no choice, ” David said. “Officer Wilson and Officer Bramley showed remarkable restraint during an excruciatingly long and intense encounter and acted consistently with the Critical Incident Training that is now standard practice for WPD officers.”
David said the officers should be permitted to return to work as soon as they are able.
“Mr. Tremblay’s death has undoubtedly created great pain for his family, as well as that of all officers involved. This was a tragedy for all concerned,” David said.