MOORESVILLE, N.C. (WJZY) — A woman suing the town of Mooresville spoke out for the first time in an exclusive interview with Queen City News.
The suit stems from an Aug. 2020 incident in which Chris Craven’s oldest daughter called the police, saying her father threatened suicide. Two police officers ultimately shot and killed Chris shortly after responding to the call. His wife, Amy, is suing the officers and the Town of Mooresville for wrongful death, saying he complied with commands.
Though it’s been two and a half years since the worst night of the Craven family’s life, Amy says she is finally ready to speak publicly.
“The number one reason is because I’m not scared anymore,” she said.
During the height of the COVID lockdown, Amy worked as the nursing director at a long-term care facility. She was putting in long hours, and Chris became a stay-at-home parent.
“A lot of families were going through a hard time then,” said Amy.
According to the lawsuit, “A total of four seconds elapsed from the time the first officer instructed Chris to put his hands up, then get on the ground, and when Officer [Christopher] Novelli began firing at Chris.”
A private autopsy found “approximately 20 bullets struck Chris’ body, hitting him in the chest, abdomen, shoulder, and extremities.”
“Our lives will never be the same. This is something that will affect us for the rest of our life,” said Amy.
In June 2021, investigators cleared Officer Novelli and Officer Alexander Arndt of any criminal charges. A special prosecutor said the officers reasonably feared for their lives when they fired high-powered rifles dozens of times at the man. At the time of the shooting, Craven was wearing a holster, and the officers believed he was reaching for a gun when they shot him.
Investigators found a gun near Chris Craven’s body after the shooting.
But according to Amy’s lawsuit, her husband complied with officer commands when officers fired.
“Chris did not threaten any of the officers, did not approach or get close to any officer, made no attempt to flee or resist arrest or make any hostile gesture or statement to the officers,” Amy’s lawyer stated in the suit.
“I don’t believe that every police officer is bad, and I don’t think every police department is bad. But there is a big problem in Mooresville,” said Amy. “People don’t think it’s going to happen to them, and it does. And it destroys things. Then you realize the legal system is not there to help protect the victims.”
Since the lawsuit filing, the court has issued multiple protective orders, preventing Amy from speaking publicly about certain aspects of her case, including details seen in the bodycam video.
“I can’t confide in friends. I can’t talk to family members. It’s tough,” she said.
Amy’s lawsuit indicates she is seeking at least $25,000 from the defendants for negligence, assault and battery, and wrongful death.
When asked for a response, the Town of Mooresville said they would not comment on pending litigation.