RALEIGH — Police will not file charges against a security guard who fired into a car whose occupants were firing gunshots in the busy parking lot of an East Raleigh restaurant last week.
Investigators say the teen who was shot and killed by the security guard had fired into a crowd in the parking lot of the Cook-Out on New Bern Avenue.
“It was a justifiable use of deadly force,” police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Friday.
Wake prosecutor Howard Cummings agreed, saying Friday that the security guard who fired the shot that killed 18-year-old Travion Malikah Ragland had the right to use self-defense to protect himself and others who could have been struck by gunfire.
Cummings said Ragland was the passenger in the front seat of a PT Cruiser when he and the driver got out of the vehicle in the Cook-Out parking lot brandishing firearms shortly before 3:17 a.m. Ragland and the driver got back into the car after the security guard asked them to leave.
But once they were in the PT Cruiser, Cummings said, the men started firing into a crowd of people. A witness told police there were about 50 people in the parking lot at the time, according to a copy of a 911 recording made public the day after the shooting.
“Fortunately, no one in the crowd was hit,” Cummings said. “But the (security) officer wouldn’t have discharged his weapon if this hadn’t happened.”
The security officer fired into the rear window of the PT Cruiser. The gunshot missed passengers in the rear and instead struck Ragland.
The PT Cruiser then turned left onto New Bern Avenue and apparently made a sharp right onto Poole Road; it flipped over in a median near the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard, about three miles away, according to police.
Several men fled from the wrecked car, leaving Ragland inside, fatally wounded, police said.
Cummings said the security guard had full certification that allows him to carry and fire his weapon, but he was not an off-duty police officer.
A sworn officer with a law enforcement agency who discharges a weapon is subject to a standard investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation. But the security guard is employed by a private agency that has the option to refer the incident to local police or the SBI for further investigation. Cummings said he was not sure if that was the case with the shooting early Sunday.
Raleigh police were still searching for the driver of the car, Sughrue said Friday.