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Durham DA will not file criminal charges in fatal shooting by Duke police officer at Duke Hospital

Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry will not file criminal charges in the Jan. 14 shooting of a man by a Duke University police officer at Duke University Hospital, according to a Monday release. 

Raishawn Jones was shot and killed by Duke officer Lex Allan Popovich after Jones grabbed Durham Police Department officer Christopher Stone’s gun and fired multiple shots. Documents reveal that Popovich shot Jones three times in the back. 

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation into the case, according to a June 6 letter sent by Deberry to Duke University Police Department Chief John Dailey included in the release. After a review of the NCSBI case file, the DA’s Office found “that there is insufficient evidence to support the filing of criminal charges.” 

“The question ... is whether a reasonable officer in 1st Sgt. Popovich’s position would have felt that it was ‘reasonably necessary’ to use deadly force to defend Durham Police Department Officer Christopher Stone from what he reasonably believed to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force by Mr. Jones,” the letter reads.

Deberry wrote that the evidence showed Jones had “suffered from mental and emotional impairment from PCP and marijuana.” Interviews with medical personnel described him as “unstable at admittance and restless and irritable right before the incident.” 

The letter included that “Jones also seemed to be physically overpowering Stone ... On video, Jones is visibly larger than Officer Stone.”

Deberry added that “the presence of guns in the Emergency Department dramatically increased the level of risk of harm to others that night.” 

Stone had 18 rounds in his service weapon and 36 rounds in his duty belt, according to the letter. 

“Had Officer Stone been required to secure his weapon when entering the ED, the physical altercation between the two very large men would have little risk of injuring other people in the area that night,” Deberry wrote. 

She recommended that Duke University Medical Center and DUPD consider a policy that requires officers’ guns to be stored securely before entering the emergency department. 

Jones was brought into the emergency department for a motor vehicle accident and was detained for erratic driving. He was restrained and transported to the emergency room by Stone and Durham EMS via ambulance, the investigation report reads. He reportedly requested to use the bathroom shortly after arrival, and upon having his handcuffs removed, he attacked Stone and took the officer’s handgun. 

Popovich’s three gunshots resulted in damage to Jones’ heart and other internal organs. The position of one of the gunshot wounds suggests Jones was bent at the waist when it occurred, according to the autopsy report.

The Monday release also announced that Deberry will not file criminal charges in two unrelated incidents that occurred on Jan. 4 and 12. 

The Jan. 4 incident occurred after Stephanie Wilson, 28, aimed a shotgun at deputies multiple times. Wilson was killed in an “officer-involved shooting” and the deputy was placed on administrative leave directly following the incident, according to the News & Observer. 

One person was killed at a convenience store on Jan. 12 in a police shooting. Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews told Spectrum News 1 that officers were responding to a call from the store clerk regarding a “suicide in progress.” Police reported that the door was locked and a man later identified as Charles Walker Piquet was attacking the store clerk, according to Deberry’s letter to Andrews included in the release. 

According to the letter, Officer Richard Villareal Gamboa Jr. “shot several times through the storefront glass.” Once the officers gained entry, they fired multiple rounds and the autopsy of Piquet determined that he received “four penetrating gunshot wounds and one perforating gunshot wound.” The store clerk also claimed to be shot during the incident.

Kathryn Thomas | News Editor

Kathryn Thomas is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Milla Surjadi | Editor-in-Chief

Milla Surjadi is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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