WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - District Attorney Ben David announced Tuesday morning his office will not seek charges against the officers involved in a deadly shooting at a Wilmington apartment complex last month.
“No officer will be criminally charged in the death of Kyle Anthony Horton," David said during a news conference. “They should be commended for saving other lives that night as they encountered a very violent and dangerous suspect who, by all indications, was never going to be taken alive.”
The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said it had received information that Horton, who was wanted in Charlotte and Myrtle Beach, S.C., on kidnapping, carjacking, and armed robbery charges, was possibly headed to the Wilmington area.
David said Horton had a girlfriend who lived in a home next to the apartment complex on Sunnyside Drive in the Murrayville area. Detectives later set up surveillance to determine if Horton was in the area.
Shortly after arriving, detectives noticed a silver Ford Escape back into a parking space at the complex. The same vehicle was reported stolen, following an armed carjacking at a Charlotte shopping center the prior weekend.
Thanks to lighting at the apartment complex, officers were able to identify Horton as the driver of the SUV.
Shortly after he arrived, Horton’s girlfriend went down to the parking lot and got into the passenger side of the vehicle. Officers then requested backup from the FBI Safer Streets Task Force and the sheriff’s office.
David said multiple officers converged on Horton’s location, with an FBI vehicle pulling in front of the Ford Escape, blocking it in.
Several officers approached from the rear and demanded Horton and his girlfriend show them their hands. She complied, but Horton did not, David said.
A detective saw Horton slowly reach for what he said was a gun, David said, and officers continued to demand Horton surrender his firearm. Horton refused to comply to the commands and continued moving his gun with an upward motion toward officers.
The detective fired his shotgun, which went through the passenger side window and struck Horton in his right shoulder. When Horton continued to lift his gun, three other officers fired their guns and Horton was hit multiple times.
Officers removed Horton and performed life-saving measures on him until he died from his injuries. No officers were injured.
David said Horton was found to be armed with a 9mm pistol that had one round in the chamber and four rounds in the magazine. David said Horton had additional ammunition in his pockets. Two shell casings were also found in the Ford Escape that were consistent with Horton’s firearm.
An autopsy concluded that Horton was hit ten times by the four officers, including a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the bottom of his chin that was consistent with shooting himself in an upward trajectory, David said.
Additionally, the SUV’s roof had a bullet indentation with a projectile lodged in it, which indicated that Horton fired his gun upward, through his chin and into his head. David said that the wound would have been fatal.
Per protocol, David and Sheriff Ed McMahon requested an SBI investigation into the deadly shooting. After reviewing the SBI’s case file on Jan. 14, David said he determined that none of the officers will face charges.
The four deputies were placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.
Prosecutors said Horton was previously convicted in Davie County in 2013 on charges of attempted armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. He was released from prison on Aug. 6, 2019
Following his release, Horton lived with his mother in Wilmington. Three months later, prosecutors said she filed a protective order against her son, testifying under oath that she was in fear of violence and he claimed he would “beat her like a man.”
She also testified that her son flew into rages and that Horton claimed that if cops wanted to take him, they would have to shoot him.
The judge granted the year-long violence protection order on Nov. 22, 2019.
Prior to the judge’s decision, Horton’s mother requested an involuntary commitment order for her son due to his erratic behavior. Prosecutors said Horton resisted officers who were trying to serve the commitment order, which required them to use force to subdue him.
On Dec. 7, 2019, prosecutors said Horton’s mother reported to the Wilmington Police Department that her son broke into her home, stole her car keys, and then stole her car.
A week later, Horton was connected to the Charlotte carjacking and was a person of interest in an armed robbery reported at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C.