Police officer fatally shoots man in North Carolina

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2016 10:00 AM

MIAMI, United States - A police officer in Raleigh, North Carolina fatally shot a man wanted on a drug charge on Monday, prompting protests amid accusations that the victim was shot in the back.

The officer was chasing the suspect -- wanted for a felony drug charge -- on foot, Raleigh police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown told reporters.

"During the course of the pursuit, the suspect was shot and killed by the officer," she said.

"Initially, it is known that a firearm was located within close proximity to the deceased suspect," she added without elaborating.

Deck-Brown asked for patience while the authorities investigate the incident.

Police did not identify the officer or the suspect.

However, local media reported a woman at the scene as saying a cousin had told her a police officer had shot and killed her 24-year-old son.

Rolanda Byrd said her son, Akiel Denkins, was unarmed and had been shot in the back, the paper reported.

She said witnesses told her Denkins, an African-American, was "shot seven times by a white officer with a bald head," the News and Observer newspaper reported.

More than a hundred people protested at the scene near downtown Raleigh.

A series of killings of African-Americans by white police officers -- most caught on video -- have roiled racial tensions and prompted a protest movement under the banner "Black Lives Matter."

Gun violence claims the lives of about 30,000 Americans every year and mass shootings -- rare in most countries -- have been on the rise in the United States.

According to the tracking website gunviolencearchive.org, there were 330 mass shootings in the United States in 2015, up from 281 in 2014. They affected nearly every part of the country, reaching into both big cities and small towns.