CHARLOTTE — Police in North Carolina say an undercover officer fatally shot a driver who collided with his unmarked car on Thursday.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police issued a statement saying a detective followed another vehicle that collided with his unmarked car and kept going through the east side of the city around 1:18 p.m. The statement said the detective reported the hit and run and was requesting assistance when the other driver stopped in front of him.
“The driver got out of the vehicle, produced a handgun, and shots were fired from the undercover detective, striking and killing the driver,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Deputy Chief Jeff Estes told reporters.
Estes said he didn’t know if the dead man fired a shot, but his gun was recovered at the scene, and a passenger in the car was taken into custody.
The driver was identified as Josue Javier Diaz, 28. The detective’s identity was withheld because of his undercover status. He will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Word of the shooting came nearly an hour after the same department released recordings from body cameras and dashboard cameras of an unrelated fatal police shooting. Those six videos were made public in response to a judge’s order. Police said Rodney Rodriguez Smith was killed on June 2 as police sought to arrest him for allegedly wounding a passenger in a shooting aboard a city bus.
In one of the four bodycam videos, an officer is heard telling someone to show his hands and then yells at the person multiple times to drop a gun. The officer opens fire, yells at the person again and fires more shots. “He shot at me,” the officer can be heard saying. The video never shows Smith, who died at the scene, until officers approach his body.
The officers, who weren’t hurt, were cleared of any wrongdoing.
After yet another fatal police shooting in September, North Carolina’s largest city endured two nights of violence. Keith Lamont Scott was sitting in his vehicle when officers confronted him, shouting at him numerous times to drop a gun before an officer opened fire.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray announced in December that this officer also acted lawfully.