A Pineville man shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers after a 45-mile chase on Aug. 10 was released from the hospital and jailed on 23 charges this week.
Catawba County’s district attorney, meanwhile, said the officers were justified in shooting Rodolfo Joel Ulloa-Paz, 28, because he pointed a gun at them after the chase crossed county lines and ended on N.C. 16, south of Newton.
District Attorney David Learner said he reviewed body camera footage from the officers involved and determined they were “totally justified in their use of deadly force to defend themselves.”
Ulloa-Paz was shot multiple times after refusing commands to get down and drop his gun, then pointing his weapon toward the officers, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference later that day.
Ulloa-Paz remained in the Mecklenburg County jail on Saturday on charges including robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, four counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied conveyance in operation, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and one count each of second-degree arson and felony flee to elude police.
A second suspect, Alan Israel Chavez-Cruz, 22, of Charlotte, remains jailed on 14 similar charges. A third suspect, Erik Lopez, 19, was in the jail Saturday on 12 charges. Police said Lopez was not involved in the chase.
Putney said the incident began when police tried to stop a red pickup near Monroe Road in Charlotte. The truck was connected with several overnight shootings in which no one was injured, Putney said. The pickup sped away, he said.
Later that morning, police found two victims with minor injuries after responding to a shooting on East W.T. Harris Boulevard near Brook Canyon Drive, Putney said. They’d been hit with bird shot during an attempted carjacking, the chief said. Several feet away, police saw the red pickup they’d been searching for engulfed in flames.
The suspects had abandoned the truck and tried to steal other vehicles, the chief said.
Two of the suspects stole another pickup at gunpoint then led police on a lengthy chase until crashing into a utility pole on N.C. 16 near Buffalo Shoals Road in Catawba County, police said.
Three CMPD officers were placed on administrative leave during the shooting investigation, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.