District Attorney: Deputy-involved shooting of drug suspect was justified

District Attorney: Deputy-involved shooting of drug suspect was justified

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The shooting of an alleged drug dealer by a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office detective during broad daylight at a busy intersection in Wilmington on June 27 was a justified use of force, according to District Attorney Ben David.

“Agents from the (State Bureau of Investigation) have independently interviewed witnesses to this incident, reviewed physical evidence, and processed the evidence at the crime scene,” David said in a news release. “That investigation is now complete and agents have shared their findings with me and senior prosecutors from my office. We have concluded that the actions of Detective (Matthew) Bowie were justified and within the scope of his training.”

Rodney Donnell Hansley Jr.
Rodney Donnell Hansley Jr. (Source: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office)

Rodney Hansley Jr. was the subject of a New Hanover County Vice and Narcotics and Gang units investigation, according to David. When attempting to take him into custody in the parking lot of the Burger King at 819 Third Street at around 2 p.m. on June 27, Bowie shot Hansley.

Neither the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office nor the Wilmington Police Department, which ultimately took over the criminal investigation into Hansley, have released any additional details about the shooting. At the time, Sheriff Ed McMahon said Bowie was “forced” to shoot Hansley.

Citing Hansley’s pending charges resulting from the investigation, which include numerous heroin- and cocaine-related charges, David also declined to add any context, saying the facts of the case would be revealed in court.

David did, however, say he had instructed the WPD to additionally charge Hansley with felony assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer.

“I have shared my conclusion with Sheriff McMahon and have welcomed his office to review the complete SBI file as part of their internal investigation into this incident,” David said. “Detective Bowie should be allowed to return to work whenever he is able.”

At the time of his arrest, Hansley was on post-release supervision for sale of schedule I controlled substance, according to N.C. Department of Corrections records. He had allegedly absconded from this supervision by cutting off his ankle monitor, so he was also charged with interfering with an electronic monitoring device.

Hansley is currently being housed in the North Carolina Department of Correction. His next court date on the above listed charges is September 5, 2019.

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