For work as a street cop, D.C. Twiddy’s school days laid a strong foundation for the path he chose. At Manteo High School, he was a wrestler. At N.C. State University, he studied criminology.
Twiddy’s physical skills and knowledge of police work fused together just after noon on Monday when he approached Akiel Denkins, a 24-year-old who ended up on Bragg Street in Southeast Raleigh from a very different background.
As many await a fuller picture of what happened that day, public records and web searches offer a scant outline of the senior officer’s path to Raleigh and the city police department.
Calls and email messages to the Raleigh attorney who has spoken to the Wake County District Attorney on Twiddy’s behalf have gone unanswered, as have calls to the police union that has supported Twiddy.
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Efforts to reach Twiddy have been unsuccessful, as have been efforts to reach family members.
Twiddy, 29, arrived in Raleigh in the fall of 2004 as a college freshman at N.C. State University, according to registrar reports.
He came inland from Manteo High School, where he was a member of the wrestling team in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Each of those years, according to the high school website he qualified for the state championships. For two of those years, Twiddy is listed as wrestling at 215 pounds.His record went from 18-14 in 2002 to 33-6 in 2004.
At N.C. State, Twiddy studied criminology and received a bachelor’s degree in December 2008.
It’s unclear what Twiddy did for the next 10 months; the Raleigh police department hired him in November 2009.
Twiddy one of the department’s 799 sworn officers, has issued an array of citations and arrest warrants during the past five years. Most of them, according to reports from the state Administrative Office of the Courts, are related to driving offenses and street-level drug charges.
The most citations he issued from 2010 to 2015 were for driving without an operator’s license, driving while license was revoked, having an expired registration card or tag and possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana.
Most of the charges during that five-year period, according to the courts report, were misdemeanors, though there were some felony drug possession cases and assault charges in which the accused was charged with having a deadly weapon.
Fifty-four times during that time-frame, Twiddy issued charges for resisting a public officer, according to the state courts database.
Twiddy, whose salary is $46,317, was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, as is department policy. While an investigation is underway, it is not unusual for officers and their legal representatives to offer few details to the public.
Twiddy’s attorney has talked with District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, she said, and the officer met with the SBI.
News researcher David Raynor contributed
The Raleigh police’s account of the shooting
On Feb. 29, shortly after noon, Raleigh police officer Twiddy was working in Southeast Raleigh when he came across Akiel Denkins.
“Officer Twiddy was aware that Mr. Denkins had an outstanding warrant for his arrest relating to felony drug charges,” according to a brief report released Thursday by Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown.
Twiddy, who was in uniform that afternoon, parked his patrol car on Mangum Street, not far from where he first spotted Denkins.
By the time Twiddy got out of the car and started to approach Denkins, the chief’s report said, Denkins has turned and already started to walk away.
Twiddy told Denkins to stop, according to the chief’s report, and he began to run down Bragg Street.
The foot chase took the men down South East Street and between two houses there is where the day turned deadly.
Twiddy, according to the report, slipped on gravel and fell to the ground. As the officer got up, according to the account, Denkins reportedly jumped a fence and continued toward the back of a house at 1117 S. East St.
Twiddy jumped that fence and continued the chase.
It was at the northeast corner of the house, according to the chief’s report, where Denkins stopped near a second fence and turned toward the officer.
There was a struggle at that fence, according to the chief’s report. During that tussle, according to the police account, Denkins pulled a handgun from inside his waistband.
Twiddy then fired multiple shots, according to the report.
“After the first shots were fired, Officer Twiddy felt Mr. Denkins’ hand or arm make contact with his duty weapon,” Deck-Brown stated in her report. “Officer Twiddy, fearing that Mr. Denkins was either going to shoot him or attempt to take his duty weapon, stepped back and fired additional shots at Mr. Denkins, who still had the firearm in his hand. Mr. Denkins collapsed to the ground, dropping the firearm in the process.”
The chief’s account is one of many partial reports released last week as fuller investigations into the death continue by the State Bureau of Investigations and the state medical examiner.
Denkins suffered four gunshot wounds, one to the right side of his chest that struck his heart and lungs, another to his left forearm and one to his right shoulder and upper arm.
It’s unclear whether the wounds on his right shoulder and upper arm were caused by shots from behind. The medical examiner has not authorized release of that information as part of its preliminary autopsy report, according to the Wake County District Attorney.
Staff writer Anne Blythe