CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer’s actions were deemed justified after he shot and killed a man during a hostage-like situation on Dec. 18, 2021.
Officer Edward Mark used deadly force to protect “himself or another” when he shot David Samuel Herbert, who police said stabbed his ex-wife’s 13-year-old daughter several times, the Mecklenburg County DA announced Thursday.
Authorities responded to the scene that day in 2021 on Blairbeth Street near Lancaster Highway in Ballantyne.
According to CMPD, Herbert broke into his ex-wife’s home during an argument. Investigators said the woman was able to get out of the house, but her daughter was still inside. Herbert then held the teen at knifepoint as officers tried to de-escalate the situation, CMPD said.
Herbert started stabbing the girl and Mark shot him.
CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said the incident was almost like a hostage situation.
“Upon officers’ arrival, they encountered the subject who had a knife to the juvenile at the time. The officers were trying to de-escalate the situation. The gentleman did stab the young lady,” Jennings said.
Herbert died at the scene. His large hunting knife was recovered by officers, CMPD said.
The teenage girl was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. Police said no officers were hurt during the incident.
The investigation into the shooting showed that body-cam video and statements from the victim and officers matched the initial account of what happened.
“The evidence in this case clearly shows that Officer Mark acted in defense of (the victim’s) life,” the investigation indicated.
“We never want to see a case like this end up where anyone is injured or, much less, killed, but I think our officers did what they had to do,” Jennings told Channel 9 in December 2021. “They were heroic in their actions, however, it did not turn out the way we’d like it to.”
Dr. Janne Gaub is a police body camera expert at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She said after the shooting that the officers were presented with the kind of situation that almost never happens and is the toughest that any police officer can face.
“Is she too close? What’s the likelihood that I’m gonna hit her instead of him? But on the flip side of that, what is the likelihood that if I do nothing that something worse happens? So, it’s a calculus that every officer goes through that has to be involved in a situation like this,” Gaub said.
Mark was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident, which is standard procedure when an officer discharges a firearm.
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