ROANOKE, Va. – A Roanoke man was fatally shot in June by police who were acting in self-defense, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city of Roanoke, Donald Caldwell.
The officers involved in the June 25 death of Rasheed Moorman won’t face any criminals charges, Caldwell said in a statement released Monday.
After an investigation by Virginia State Police, Caldwell wrote, in part, “I am of the opinion that Moorman was killed during an act of self-defense."
On the day he died, Moorman was leaving a convenience store in Roanoke on the corner of Melrose Avenue and 35th Street with another man who police suspected to be involved in a shooting three days prior, according to Caldwell.
An officer spotted the shooting suspect, Xavier Trotter, and Moorman leave the store and head toward Ashton Heights. Several officers responded, including Officer Stanger, who approached Moorman and Trotter. They immediately ran through the apartment complex, according to Caldwell.
Officer Bourgeois started to pursue the men on foot and chased Moorman into a breezeway at the complex, according to Caldwell. Then, Bourgeois saw that Moorman had a gun in his hand. Caldwell said Moorman wouldn’t drop the gun when Bourgeois ordered him to. After ignoring the order to drop the gun, Moorman ran through the breezeway, where Bourgeois continued to chase him, according to Caldwell.
Caldwell said a police-worn body camera and security cameras at the apartment complex show Moorman turning and firing at least four shots at Bourgeois. Caldwell said two of those bullets entered an apartment with two occupants. It was at this point that Bourgeois fired ten shots at Moorman, three of which hit him.
One of Moorman’s shots hit Officer Smith’s vehicle, who fired one shot from inside his vehicle after his car was hit.
Caldwell said both Officers Smith and Bourgeois provided medical aid to Moorman while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Moorman later died at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital from his injuries.
Caldwell said the officers attempted to “peacefully resolve the case,” and that it was only after Moorman “made the decision to initiate the use of deadly force” that Officer Bourgeois shot Moorman, inflicting the wounds that led to his death.
Moorman placed the officers, as well as others nearby, in “reasonable fear” of death or severe bodily injury, according to Caldwell.
“The police, in this instance, acted properly, within the scope of their legal authority, and in the best interest of the community as a whole in attempting to further the investigation of a prior shooting,” wrote Caldwell.
Caldwell also said that while it isn’t relevant to the investigation into Moorman’s death, investigators determined that shell casings collected at the June 22 shooting also matched Moorman’s gun.
Pursuant to an agreement with the Roanoke City Police Department, Virginia State Police conducts criminal investigations into all officer-involved shootings.