Raleigh police: Sergeant accidentally shot fire extinguisher, fellow officer

akenney@newsobserver.comJune 5, 2014 

— A Raleigh police officer shot another officer and a fire extinguisher during a confrontation with a reportedly intoxicated man last week, according to a report released Thursday by the Raleigh Police Department.

Officers came to an apartment complex on Colbert Creek Loop early May 29 to answer a complaint that a man named Joshua Timberlake was fighting with his girlfriend. A 911 caller reported that Timberlake had pulled out a gun and waved it over his head while cursing and challenging the caller, who had sought to intervene.

Thursday’s report gave the following account of what happened next:

A sergeant and two officers knocked on Timberlake’s door about 2 a.m. One officer left to check the back of the building, leaving Sgt. J.D. Malzahn and Officer K.J. Barefoot at the door.

Soon after, the door suddenly “flew open,” and Timberlake pointed a handgun out the door and into the breezeway, sweeping it from side to side. Malzahn and Barefoot backed away, identifying themselves as police and ordering Timberlake to drop the weapon.

Timberlake continued to sweep the gun, at one point aiming it directly at Malzahn, who drew his own weapon. Malzahn fired twice in Timberlake’s direction; one round hit a fire extinguisher, spraying powder through the breezeway, while another struck Barefoot in his left hip.

Timberlake then retreated into his apartment and closed the door while Malzahn and the second officer called for help. Malzahn ordered Timberlake out of the apartment and arrested him without further incident.

Barefoot was treated at WakeMed and released.

The Police Department has placed Malzahn on administrative leave while it reviews the use of a firearm by an officer.

Timberlake was charged with assault on a female, in relation to an earlier altercation with his girlfriend, according to police. Also, after a review by the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, Timberlake was additionally charged with two counts of assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer.

The State Bureau of Investigation has declined to investigate Barefoot’s shooting because it found the injury to be an accident.

Timberlake remains in custody at Wake County Detention Center.

Kenney: 919-829-4870; Twitter: @KenneyNC

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