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DA: State trooper justified in shooting

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SMITHFIELD — Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle on Friday cleared a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper of wrongdoing in an April 4 shooting.

Doyle disclosed the results of a State Bureau of Investigation probe into the incident, saying Highway Patrol Sgt. J.M. Dorsey shot and wounded a driver who drew a BB pistol and refused to drop it during a traffic stop.

Dorsey was traveling eastbound on U.S. 70 in Wayne County when he saw a Nissan Maxima traveling westbound at 90 mph around 1 p.m., according to officials.

Dorsey turned around to catch up to the car. The Nissan pulled over just inside the Johnston County line on U.S. 70 near Old Cornwallis Road near Princeton.

Dorsey identified the driver as Darius Jayquan Rogers. Dorsey said Rogers was staring at the glove compartment, which prompted Dorsey to ask Rogers what was in it. Rogers said there was a gun.

Officials said Rogers wouldn’t make eye contact and didn’t turn off the car and exit as instructed.

“Don’t think of doing nothing stupid,” Dorsey warned the driver.

Then Dorsey said Rogers dove and reached toward the glove compartment with both hands. Dorsey stepped back and drew his service handgun.

Prosecutors say Dorsey yelled to Rogers three separate times, “Don’t do it!” Dorsey saw Rogers grab the pistol out of the glove compartment and begin to lean up, according to the district attorney’s office.

Dorsey told Rogers to “drop it” three times. Dorsey then fired three times through the rear passenger’s side window, prosecutors said. Rogers then fell across into the front passenger’s seat.

Dorsey immediately called for assistance from paramedics. Other law enforcement officers arrived at the scene.

Knowing that Rogers was still armed, the officers approached to the vehicle. They took Rogers into custody and placed him on the grass at the rear of the Nissan. The gun was removed from the front passenger’s seat and placed on the ground.

Rogers had three gunshot wounds to the back. Law enforcement officers began to administer first aid to Rogers until Johnston County EMS arrived and took over emergency care.

While medics attended to him, prosecutors say Rogers apologized, saying “I’m sorry. I did something stupid.” Rogers was taken to Wake Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries and discharged six days later.

During a search of the crime scene, State Bureau of Investigation agents recovered an air pistol. Rogers allegedly admitted he told the trooper he had a gun in his glove compartment. Rogers said he didn’t tell Dorsey that it was just a BB gun because he was scared.

“Officers must often make split-second decisions regarding their use of force,” said Doyle. “Under the circumstances observed by Dorsey, his use of force was both reasonable and warranted. As a result, no charges will be filed against Dorsey.”

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