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DA: Officers justified in Pizza Hut shooting that killed two

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — District Attorney Ben David says officers were fully justified in their use of force when they shot at three suspects at a Wilmington restaurant last month killing two of the men.

Tevin Robinson and Ronald Roland died in the shooting outside the Pizza Hut on S. 17th St. Oct. 25. Jalani Smith, 20, was injured. He is in jail facing several charges.

David made the announcement at a news conference this morning with Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous.

Dru Lewis, an assistant district attorney, who is part of the DA’s shooting review team, said Wilmington Police, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and ATF went to the Pizza Hut Oct. 25 doing surveillance as part of an investigation into a rash of restaurant robberies.

Lewis said the suspects stole money, cell phones and keys as they robbed the Pizza Hut. The shooting happened as the men left and were confronted by officers. Six WPD detectives were placed on leave after the shooting, Lewis said.

“They made the decision to protect themselves and the people around them,” Chief Evangelous said. “The results were tragic, not only for the families of these victims, but for these officers and their families.”

Evangelous had earlier said officers fired after the suspects ran toward them. Investigators later found two weapons on them.

David said he has met with the mother of one of the men killed to discuss the findings of the investigation that led to the determination the officers were justified in the shooting. But he said because charges are still pending against Smith, he is limited to the amount of information he can release at this time.

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