WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Wilmington police officer “acted reasonably under the circumstances” after he fired a gunshot while responding to a domestic-related incident back on Christmas Day, an internal investigation concluded.
The unnamed officer, who had been placed on administrative leave following the incident, will be allowed to return to duty later this week, a spokesperson for the Wilmington Police Department said.
According to the WPD, the officer fired one shot but did not hit anyone while responding to a reported domestic dispute in the 700 block of S. 10th Street at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 25.
When police arrived at the scene, the 911 caller told them that Devante Malik Pugh, 23, had choked her, pointed a gun at her, and was now threatening to kill her granddaughter at the house around the corner.
“Officers rounded the corner to the 1000 block of Wooster St., where they found Pugh and the victim standing outside near a vehicle. Pugh refused several verbal commands to stop and, instead, entered the house,” a previous news release about the incident stated. “When one of the officers followed Pugh, he fired one shot from the doorway, which did not hit Pugh.
“The officer then backed onto the front lawn, where police continued to give the suspect verbal commands. Pugh exited the house and continued to ignore those commands.”
Pugh was then tasered and taken into custody. He was charged with numerous offenses including two counts of assault on a female, assault by pointing a gun, and misdemeanor larceny.
“Law enforcement officers are often required to make split-second decisions under tremendous pressure. In this case, the officer was faced with a potentially armed subject who had allegedly assaulted and pointed a gun at someone, as well as threatened to kill her loved one,” the WPD spokesperson stated in a news release announcing the internal investigation’s findings.
“When the subject repeatedly resisted commands and moved inside the house, the officer needed to act for the safety of those around him and himself. Our agency stands by his actions and those of the other officers on scene.”