Motel manager's actions justified in deadly Oak Island shooting

Motel manager's actions justified in deadly Oak Island shooting
(Source: WECT)

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) - An Oak Island man won't face charges in connection with a deadly shooting last year after the District Attorney's Office determined the shooting was justified.

Michael Christopher Auvil, 36, was fatally shot by Thomas Everette Craddock at the Driftwood Motel on Ocean Drive in Oak Island on July 22, 2017. Prosecutors ruled that Craddock was justified in using deadly force during the incident due to Auvil's conduct.

"After a review of all of the information and evidence related to the matter, including witness statements, photographic and audio-recorded evidence, scientific, DNA and medical evidence, and other pertinent investigatory documentation, my office has determined that Thomas Everette Craddock will not be charged criminally in relation to the death of Mr. Auvil," explained District Attorney Jon David in a news release.

Police were called to the motel around 11 p.m. after receiving reports of a disturbance. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Craddock lying on his back with Auvil lying across his legs. Prosecutors said Auvil had suffered a gunshot wound to the head and Craddock had visible lacerations on his face.

Eyewitnesses said Auvil had been in an altercation with a motel employee earlier that day. Craddock, who was the manager of the motel, was made aware of the initial incident and arrived at the motel soon thereafter.

Craddock found Auvil at nearby beach access parking lot and while Auvil was in his vehicle, Craddock called 911 to report Auvil's license plate.

Prosecutors said Auvil exited the vehicle armed with a knife and aggressively approached Craddock, who started backpedaling toward the motel property. Auvil eventually cut Craddock on the face with the knife.

As Auvil continued moving forward, Craddock, who was lawfully armed with a 9 mm handgun, fatally shot Auvil.

A filet knife and sheath were recovered at the scene and the SBI's crime lab located Auvil's DNA on both.

Prosecutors said the investigation revealed Auvil had been drinking heavily earlier in the day and witnesses confirmed his impairment. An autopsy revealed that his blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Recordings from 911 also confirmed Craddock's recitation of the incident.

While Craddock could have stayed on the motel property and called 911 without approaching Auvil's vehicle, prosecutors could not prove that Craddock was not acting in self-defense during the deadly shooting.

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