A Wake Forest police officer was justified in firing the shot that killed a man who had barricaded himself in a room in his house this summer, according to Wake County District Attorney N. Lorrin Freeman.
Alan Rushton was armed with two large knives when he moved toward police, striking one officer in the helmet just before he was killed, according to a letter from Freeman to the State Bureau of Investigation acknowledging its report on the shooting. Based on the SBI report, Freeman concluded that the use of deadly force by Officer Dustin d’Hemecourt “did not give rise to criminal prosecution.”
Town officials released Freeman’s letter Monday. It was the second time that Freeman has determined that Wake Forest police were justified in killing someone this year.
Rushton was shot on Aug. 21 at his home in the 1100 block of Chamberwell Avenue off Wall Road. Wake Forest officers arrived at Rushton’s home at about 8:30 p.m. after his wife called 911 and told an emergency dispatcher that he had become violent during an argument.
Crystal Rushton said her husband cornered her in a closet and slammed her head on a door frame, according to a recording of the 911 call. She told the dispatcher that she and her two sons were in the front yard.
“I can’t leave,” she said during the call. “He’s got the keys to the Pathfinder, and my Jeep isn’t running. He’s even got my bank card. I can’t even feed my kids.”
Police say Alan Rushton brandished a large kitchen knife after officers arrived and barricaded himself in a room upstairs. A police tactical unit and negotiators arrived at the home, and officers at first “deployed different types of non-deadly force” and tried to take Rushton into custody peacefully, Freeman wrote.
Officers spent more than two hours “attempting to talk Mr. Rushton out of an upstairs bathroom where he had barricaded himself before deciding to breach the bathroom door.”
Officer d’Hemecourt, a member of the tactical unit, shot Rushton, who died later at WakeMed, according to police.
One month before the shooting, police had arrested Rushton and charged him with threatening his wife, according to arrest records.
Rushton was the second person shot and killed by Wake Forest police this year. On May 6, officers David Cohen and Darryl Ragland fatally shot 18-year-old David William Johnson when Johnson refused to put down a gun after a car chase.
An SBI investigation found Johnson wrecked his car on Grandmark Street after being chased by Wake Forest officers and that he got out of the car armed with a handgun in plain view. Several times, Cohen and Ragland ordered Johnson to drop his weapon, and when he failed to comply, the officers fired, striking Johnson multiple times.
Freeman declined to file criminal charges against the officers after reviewing the SBI report in August.