SILER CITY, N.C. (WNCN) — No charges will be filed against a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper in a deadly shooting in Siler City from late May, officials said Thursday.
The May 30 shooting left 21-year-old Mark Anthony Diaz dead, troopers said.
Around 4:30 p.m. that day, Trooper Rodney Cook pulled over Diaz on Harmony Drive for a seatbelt violation, the Highway Patrol said.
Chatham and Orange County District Attorney James Woodall said Thursday that “the video says it all in that case.”
The video shows Cook making a U-turn on U.S. 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?” Cook asked 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 arrived, he told them what happened.
“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.
Thursday, Woodall said the trooper “had a reasonable cause to fire his weapon in this case.”