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CLINTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A quarter of the Clinton police force is on administrative leave after an armed man was shot early Sunday in a Burger King parking lot, officials said.
John Mark Coffey, 53, of Warsaw, was identified Monday as the man who police say pointed a shotgun at officers from a pickup truck in the parking lot, police said.
Clinton Police also identified the seven officers and an N.C. Trooper who would be placed on administrative leave, along with their time on the force. There are 28 officers on the Clinton Police force.
On Monday, neighbors of Coffey, who lived about 15 miles east of Clinton, said they were surprised by the deadly shooting.
“It’s shocking. Very, very shocking. He was quiet. I thought he was quiet and kept to himself,” said Brenda Murphy, who added that Coffey did come to her home and introduce himself when he first moved in.
Another neighbor said that Coffey was often seen in the neighborhood with his dogs.
“He was the type that didn’t bother nobody. He’d come out and walk his dogs,” said neighbor Donald Darden.
The police department also revealed more details about the incident, which began at 12:01 a.m. Sunday when two officers arrived at the business after a 911 call.
Shortly after arriving on the scene, one of the officers called by radio stating that the man had a shotgun, police said in a statement.
As the two officers backed away from Coffey, they took cover and started negotiating with him. Six more Clinton Police officers and one NC State Highway Patrol trooper responded and cordoned off the parking lot.
A Clinton Police Department commander was on scene overseeing the event.
“Officers attempted to negotiate for approximately 20 minutes with the male subject to put the weapon down and surrender,” the Clinton Police said.
“During this time, the commander coordinated with officers on the scene and the E911 (operator) to ensure the safety of citizens at a nearby home and at the Burger King,” police added.
The commander also asked for an EMS unit to come the scene.
During the police attempts to negotiate, Coffey told officers that he had five rounds and “was not coming out of the vehicle,” police said.
Coffey was unresponsive and would not comply with their requests to put the shotgun down, according to the police statement.
At approximately 12:18 a.m. Coffey opened the driver’s door of the white pickup truck and pointed a weapon at the officers, police said.
“The officers then fired multiple rounds at the male, fatally striking him,” according to the police statement.
EMS was immediately called and they pronounced Coffey dead at the scene. There were no injuries to the officers.
The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation was called to investigate the shooting, which is the Clinton Police Department’s policy. The results of this investigation will be turned over to the District Attorney.
The Internal Affairs Unit with the Clinton Police Department is conducting an Administrative Investigation into the shooting.
The Clinton Police Department has both in-car video and body worn camera systems. During this incident there were five body cameras and four in-car video cameras recording the officers’ response, police said.
“The systems were activated at the time of the officers’ arrival and continued recording throughout the event, to include the shooting,” the police said. The videos are being turned over to the SBI as part of their investigation.
The N.C. State Medical Examiner’s office will be conducting an autopsy on Coffey.The officers who have been placed on administrative leave are:
Lieutenant R. K. Dalton, a 11 year veteran with CPD
Sergeant A. D. Clowney, a 10 year veteran with CPD
Detective S. M. Crespo, a 2 year veteran with CPD
Corporal J. A. Kittrell, a 11 year veteran with CPD
Corporal J. A. Snell, a 2 year veteran with CPD
Officer A. W. McDuffie, a 1 year veteran with CPD
Officer B. N. Hall, a 1 year veteran with CPD
NCSHP Trooper M. High, who has been with the Highway Patrol for one year.