SILER CITY, N.C. (WNCN) – The Highway Patrol has released dash-cam video of a deadly trooper-involved shooting on May 30 in Siler City.
The shooting left 21-year-old Mark Anthony Diaz dead, troopers said.
Around 4:30 p.m., Trooper Rodney Cook pulled over Diaz on Harmony Drive for a seatbelt violation, the Highway Patrol said.
The video shows Cook making a U-turn on Highway 64, and then pulling over a white pickup truck in the Harmony Hills neighborhood. Cook approaches the vehicle and begins to speak with the driver, identified as Diaz.
The trooper informs Diaz that he saw them not wearing seatbelts.
“On 64 here, you need to have a seatbelt on. The law says you need to have it on, no matter where you are on the road,” Cook is heard telling Diaz.
He then asks Diaz to present license and registration. Diaz said he did not have an ID on him. The passenger in the truck did not either.
“How much marijuana is in the vehicle?” asked Cook to the two men. “I can smell some.”
When Cook asks Diaz to step out of the truck, the video shows Cook trying to grab something from the driver’s side of the truck.
In the video, the tip of the barrel of a pistol is seen poking out of the window.
The video shows Diaz stepping out of the vehicle with the pistol in his hands. Cook fires a single shot – striking Diaz.
The white pickup rolls down the street and strikes a parked car. A passenger in the truck jumps from the truck and runs from the scene.
Even though the video shows Diaz on the ground, he is still holding onto the weapon.
“Drop the gun… drop the gun,” Cook is heard saying several times.
Cook, a 16-year veteran with the State Highway Patrol, radios in that shots were fired before administering CPR for seven minutes on Diaz.
When officers arrive, he told them what happened.
“Serg, he pulled a gun on me. For a seatbelt violation. I’m fine, there was no shots fired at me. He grabbed the gun, and I reached in there to grab it and I couldn’t get the gun from him,” Cook explained.
In the video, a neighbor walks over to Cook while he is administering CPR to Diaz and asks if he is OK.
That man was later identified by CBS 17 as Charles Tysor, who lives in the neighborhood.
“You sure you’re alright?” asked Tysor.
“Yes sir, he pulled a gun,” said Cook.
“Yeah, I see,” responded Tysor.
Tysor spoke with CBS17 on Tuesday.
He is still trying to process what happened.
“It was completely shocking. You would think in 2022, that you wouldn’t see anything like this in Siler City. You see it on TV and in major cities,” explained Tysor. “I never thought I would experience anything in Siler City of that nature.”
Tysor does not blame Cook after watching the video.
“It’s a situation where I really felt like the officer was trying to defend himself from what had occurred,” he said.
Tysor told CBS 17 that his community is broken and confused right now.
“I don’t think it was racially motivated. I think it was a situation where the officer responded based on his professional training and said it was either him or me,” he added.
Tysor said he wishes that Diaz would not have pulled a gun on someone in law enforcement so that so many people would not be grieving and hurting right now.
“I felt that it was just really uncalled for. You could have just taken it… faced the consequences and still be alive today,” he explained.
The SBI is still investigating.