DA: Officers justified for shooting, killing Irma evacuee in hospital

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — The Mecklenburg County district attorney announced Thursday that no charges will be filed against two officers who shot and killed a man inside Novant Health’s Huntersville Medical Center.

Authorities said officers were called to the hospital in September for reports of a man with a gun who had fired several shots.

[PAST COVERAGE: Man shot, killed inside Novant Health was Irma evacuee, police say]

Officers confronted 76-year-old Joseph Cook, a Florida evacuee escaping Hurricane Irma.

District Attorney Spencer Merriweather released pictures that show Cook roaming the halls in a hospital gown with a gun in his hand. There are also pictures showing three officers with their guns drawn in the hospital hallway.

The district attorney's office interviewed Officers Michael Joseph and Travis Watts, who were involved in the shooting.

New documents show two nurses ran for help, prompting a lockdown at 11:40 p.m. Sept, 10.

Over the next seven minutes, hospital surveillance cameras show a security guard confront Cook, followed by officers with guns drawn.

Watts said that he advised Cook several times to drop the weapon. He also said that when he made a side step, Cook moved his gun as if he was tracking Watts’ movements. Watts stated that he thought Cook was going to shoot him.

Both Joseph and Watts fired their guns at Cook. The medical examiner determined that Cook was shot between eight and 11 times, and that shots from either weapon would have been lethal.

Merriweather determined that because Cook pointed a gun at a police officer, no charges would be filed since the officers acted within the bounds of the law.

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