Video Shows N.C. Officers’ Fatal Shooting of Armed Patient

Huntsville police officers say the suspect pointed his gun at them before they fired their weapons.

Body camera footage has been released of the officer-involved shooting that left a North Carolina hospital patient dead in September.

It had previously been determined that the actions of two Huntsville officers involved in the shooting were justified, although the video sheds new light on their actions inside of Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center.

James Charles Cook, 76, was being treated at the hospital on Sept. 10 when a nurse saw him pull a gun out of his suitcase. The nurse later heard a gunshot, and an unarmed security officer at the facility says he witnessed Cook leaving his hospital room holding a gun.

Huntersville police officers including Michael Joseph and Travis Watts responded to a report of a man firing his weapon inside Novant Health around 11:30 pm, reports the Charlotte Observer.

The officers confronted Cook, who was wearing a patient’s gown, in a reception area and Watts can be seen from Joseph’s body camera ordering him to show his hands twice. Another officer can be heard confirming Cook had a gun.

Following those commands, officers fired multiple rounds at Cook, who is not seen in the body camera footage. Cook later died from his injuries.

After the shooting, Watts tells Cook not to move as another officer reports shots fired on his radio.

The officers were placed on administrative leave as the shooting was reviewed by the State Bureau of Investigation. Both Watts and Joseph later told investigators that Cook pointed a gun at Watts before they fired their weapons.

Cook was traveling from DeLand, Florida to New York because of Hurricane Irma when he checked into Novant Health. He had no criminal record aside from selling tobacco to a minor in 2001.

About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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