Trooper cleared of shooting driver who pulled BB gun during traffic stop
Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle said Friday that no charges will be filed against a State Highway Patrol trooper who shot a driver last month during a traffic stop in Princeton.
Sgt. J.M. Dorsey spotted a Nissan Maxima going 96 mph in a 55-mph zone on westbound U.S. Highway 70 in Wayne County on April 4 and pulled the car over after it had crossed into Johnston County, Doyle said.
As Dorsey approached the Maxima from the passenger side, he noticed the driver, later identified as Darius Jayquan Rogers, with both hands on the center console, nervously staring at his glove compartment. Doyle said. When Dorsey asked what was in the glove compartment, Rogers replied, “gun,” she said.
Rogers refused to turn off the car’s engine and get out as Dorsey asked, and he suddenly “dove with both hands and grabbed toward the glove compartment,” Doyle said. Dorsey pulled his own gun and yelled at Rogers three times, “Don’t do it” and ordered him to drop the gun, she said.
As Rogers began to sit back up in the front seat, Dorsey fired three times through the back passenger window, hitting Rogers in the back, Doyle said. Dorsey then called for assistance, and he and other troopers pulled Rogers from the car and provided first aid until paramedics arrived, she said.
“I’m sorry. I did something stupid,” Rogers told paramedics on the scene, according to Doyle.
A black air pistol was found at the scene, Doyle said, and Rogers acknowledged to investigators that he told Dorsey only that he had a gun in the car.
“Rogers admitted that he did not tell Dorsey that it was just a BB gun because he was scared,” Doyle said.
Investigators said the gun looked like a Glock handgun, she said.
“Officers must often make split-second decisions regarding their use of force. Under the circumstances observed by Sgt. J.M. Dorsey, his use of force was both reasonable and warranted,” Doyle said.
Rogers, 20, spent six days in WakeMed in Raleigh recovering from his wounds. No charges were filed against him.
Dorsey, a 15-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, has been on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.