Man shot after downtown standoff

Sep. 18, 2013 @ 07:04 PM

A police officer shot and killed an armed man in downtown Durham after the distraught man pointed his handgun at police.

The incident began about 4:15 p.m. when police were dispatched to CCB Plaza on North Corcoran Street for a report of a distraught man with a gun. The man, dressed in black shorts and a pink shirt, had a black handgun.

Durham police and Durham County deputies rushed to the scene and blocked off the streets for several blocks around the area.

Police officers armed with military-style weapons surrounded the area, and a Durham police officer lay partially hidden at the base of the bronze Durham bull sculpture with a gun trained on the man.

“Officers had negotiated with the man for about approximately an hour when he pointed the gun at officers, which prompted an officer to fire at the man,” according to a press release from the Durham Police Department

Photographs taken by Justin Quisenberry of WNCN show the man first holding the gun to his head, then pointing the gun in the direction of the officer near the bull, just before he was shot and fell backward. It was unclear if that officer shot the man or if it was another officer.

Police officers then rushed the man, who appeared to be bleeding from his mouth and back area. They and paramedics lifted him onto a gurney; then quickly loaded him into an ambulance, which drove him to a nearby hospital.

He was pronounced dead a short time later, the press release said. He had not been identified at press time.

Tiara Lorfils had earlier parked her car on Market Street next to the plaza and was walking to her car Tuesday afternoon when she saw the man sitting against the tire of a black car, which was parked in the center of the plaza.

He had a gun in his hand and was talking to someone on his cell phone, she said.

“All I heard was, ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,’” she said. “Then he hung up.”

Just about then, a police officer arrived and told her and other people in the area to go back to West Main Street. The man with the gun stood up when police arrived at the scene, she said.

Hotel guests and employees at the Marriott Hotel and office workers in buildings around the plaza looked down on the scene as it unfolded.

The shooting is being investigated by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. The Durham Police Department’s Professional Standards Division and Criminal Investigations Division are also investigating the incident, which is standard procedure in any officer-involved shooting.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay, which is also standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting.

Portions of several streets in downtown Durham will remain closed while the incident is investigated. The streets include Parrish Street, Corcoran Street, Market Street, Rigsbee Avenue and Foster Street.