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Police kill man suspected of firing at CMPD officers

By Steve Lyttle and Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com cwootson@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/19/06/39/14bd9L.Em.138.jpeg|403
    - MECKLENBURG COUNTY JAIL
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say Devaron Ricardo Wilburn, 21, was shot and killed Wednesday night during a confrontation with police at a north Charlotte motel.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/19/07/46/m0Nh4.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    On Thursday morning, crime scene sealed off the Intown Suites, in the 7700 block of North Tryon Street, where an officer shot and killed a man Wednesday night who was wanted for allegedly firing at officers Monday night in west Charlotte.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/19/07/46/o4I1Y.Em.138.jpeg|163
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detectives investigate the area on the third floor of the Intown Suites, where a police officer shot and killed a suspect Wednesday night. The suspect, Devaron Ricardo Wilburn, had been accused of firing at police Monday night in west Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say an officer shot and killed a man who was wanted for allegedly firing at officers Monday night in west Charlotte.

Devaron Ricardo Wilburn, 21, was shot about 10 p.m. Wednesday in a confrontation with police at the Intown Suites, in the 7700 block of North Tryon Street. No other injuries were reported.

Investigators had been working for nearly two days to identify the man who allegedly fired at police about 10:45 p.m. Monday near a convenience store on West Trade Street near Fifth Street.

On Wednesday, police said Wilburn refused to surrender before being shot by a 20-year veteran officer. Investigators said Wilburn “presented a weapon” during the confrontation that led to the shooting.

And late Thursday, police said a ballistic examination showed that Wilburn’s gun had been fired. The examination didn’t show whether Wilburn or officers shot first.

A woman who identified herself as Wilburn’s grandmother declined to comment to a reporter who knocked on the door of an address listed for Wilburn.

Police directives and North Carolina law allow an officer to use force when he considers it “reasonably necessary to defend him or herself or another person from what the officer reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.”

Police identified Wilburn on Wednesday afternoon and issued warrants for his arrest. They then asked any members of the public who knew of Wilburn’s whereabouts to call 911 or the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday, police said they received a 911 call from a person who reported seeing Wilburn near the motel, a short distance north of the North Tryon-University City Boulevard intersection. The first officers to arrive on the scene reported seeing a man matching the description of Wilburn enter a third-story room at the Intown Suites.

Police said they moved motel residents to a safe location and set up a perimeter around the room. Members of VCAT were called in. They said a woman in the room came out voluntarily, but they said negotiations with Wilburn failed.

At that point, according to police spokesman Officer Keith Trietley, the suspect “presented a weapon at officers.” Police said Officer David Michaud, a VCAT member who has been with the department since 1994, shot Wilburn in the abdomen.

Wilburn was taken by Medic to Carolinas Medical Center, where he died.

No officers were injured.

Police said Wednesday’s shooting will launch an Internal Affairs investigation, to determine whether department policies and procedures were followed.

Police are also investigating the initial shooting incident allegedly involving Wilburn on Monday night.

In that incident, police said they were called about 10:45 p.m. to the 1800 block of West Trade Street, after a report that a man armed with a handgun had threatened another man. Police said they tried talking to the suspect, but he ran off and fired at officers.

Officer Christopher Miranda returned fire, but police said neither officers nor the suspect was hit by gunfire.

Police said Michaud and Miranda are on paid administrative leave, which is customary in cases of police-involved shootings.

Court records show that Wilburn had been arrested four times in the past 18 months, although in three cases the charges were misdemeanors. Last Sept. 16, according to records, Wilburn was arrested on felony charges of breaking and entering, and larceny.

The Violent Criminal Apprehension Team specializes in capturing fugitives and dealing with what the department calls “the most violent offenders operating or located within the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.”

CMPD says members of the team receive specialized, SWAT-style training in dealing with fugitives and violent criminals.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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