The fatal shooting of a UNC Chapel Hill fraternity president was justified, Randolph County District Attorney Garland Yates said today.
In a news release, Yates said the Archdale police officer who shot and killed Courtland Smith in the early hours of Aug. 23 did so because he believed he faced "an imminent use of deadly force."
Police pulled Smith over on Interstate 85 in Archdale because he had called 911 saying he wanted to kill himself. He told the 911 operator he was drunk and had a gun.
"It is clear from all the evidence that Officer J.P. Flinchum reasonably believed that he and Officer Jones were in imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury when [Flinchum] shot Courtland Smith," Yates said in the release.
Yates said that Smith acted aggressively towards the two officers, leading them to assume he had a weapon behind his back.
"Mr. Smith aggressively advanced on the officers, forcing them to retreat to the rear of their patrol cars twice," Yates said. "He ignored officers' repeated and clear orders to stop advancing on them and to show his hands."
Smith was a junior studying biology. He was president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, where he was partying before driving to Archdale. The fraternity has been sanctioned for the party because alcohol was present.