Raleigh man shot and killed by Raleigh police on I-440


(Above: The initial crash on I-440 that led police to the scene) Photo courtesy of the News & Observer

   An average police call concerning a drunk driver ended in shock and tears as Daniel Turcios, a 43-year-old man from Raleigh, was shot and killed by the responding officers. The incident began with a 911 call from an unnamed person. The caller stated, “This guy is drunk, he just rammed me off the road, he flipped his whole car,” according to WRAL

   There are reports of other witnesses driving by, who said they saw a man walking away from a car crash. The initial crash then escalated when officers were notified that the man, Turcios, was in possession of a knife. When they arrived, officers spotted Turcios walking with the knife and now with a small child as well. The child was identified as his 7-year-old son. Fortunately, his wife, who was also at the scene, was able to get the child away from Turcios and far enough away from the scene to safety. 

   Officers confronted the man and told him to put down the knife, and when he refused, they used a taser to attempt to diffuse the situation. Shocked, Turcios fell to the ground but quickly got up still holding the knife. Police attempted to take the man into custody when he swung the knife at police officers, which resulted in an officer shooting Turcios in response. Five shots were fired at Turcios’ chest and head; he later died in the hospital.

   Many different accounts have said that Turcios was not in his right mind and was disoriented after the crash due to the car flipping multiple times. Turcios was a native of El Salvador and family members claimed he could only understand small amounts of English which furthered his confusion as officers were shouting commands at him. Due to his Hispanic background and the allegedly overly aggressive language used to describe Turcios in the police report, activists have taken interest in the incident. This publicity along with eyewitness accounts have created a contrasting series of events with the Raleigh Police Department’s narrative. This contrast only furthers claims of police brutality against the El Salvador native. 

   The case is ongoing with the officer who fired the shots, Officer Smith, being put on administrative duty as well as fellow first responder, Officer Tapscott, until a conclusion is reached. The State Bureau of Investigations is looking into the shooting while Raleigh police are performing an administrative investigation. 

   “It is pertinent to view full, unredacted body camera footage of all officers on the scene to be released to the public,” Kerwin Pittman of Emancipate North Carolina stated his opinion in an interview with News & Observer

   “It is my understanding that Mr. Turcios did not attempt to get back up and actually charge at this officer wielding the knife, as stated in the five-day report,” Pittman added. “And this is why it is extremely important for this footage to be released.” 

   A hearing with the Superior Court has been scheduled for February 2, 2022, after Raleigh police petitioned a judge for the release of body camera footage from the five officers. No other court dates have been set following the investigation.