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Fri April 6, 2007
Wilmington Police Fatally Shoot Man
By Megan V. Williams
Wilmington, NC – Wilmington police report a calm weekend after last Thursday's shooting of a young man by an officer. Police spokesperson Lucy Crockett says there were intermittent vigils throughout the weekend at the site where Phillipe Elon McIver, 23, died, but the scene remained peaceful.
McIver's shooting near the Tidewater Townhomes on Princess Place Drive, igniting strong tensions in the neighborhood.
According to the department, just after 11pm officers Jason Whitt and Jason Howard responded to reports of a naked man in the neighborhood and found McIver wearing only a shirt, wandering in the roadway and appearing agitated.
When a struggle ensued between McIver and Whitt, police chief Ralph Evangelous says McIver grabbed Whitt's gun from the holster and fired at him. Howard then fired on McIver, although Evangelous would not say if that was the fatal shot.
"We know that shots were fired, and we know that he [McIver] was hit," Evangelous said at a press conference Friday, "there are other circumstances here in play that we can't get into at this point until the investigation gets further along."
Evangelous said that video footage from the patrol car has been turned over the State Bureau of Investigation, which is in charge of the case.
Howard has only been on the force for a little more than two months and is still required to patrol with a more experience officer, but Evangelous applauded his response to the situation.
"To be put in that situation and to respond the way he had, I think is very commendable. [It] was a very stressful situation. Officer Whitt believes that [Howard] saved his life," Evangelous said.
The shooting brought an immediate reaction in the neighborhood, where Evangelous says tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of hundreds of residents gathered around the scene, throwing rocks and bottles at the responding officers.
Evangelous and District Attorney Ben David are pleading for calm while waiting for the results of the investigation.
Friends and relatives gathered throughout the weekend at a makeshift memorial for McIver set up near the site of his shooting.
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