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Prosecutor: No charges for officer in fatal court shooting

November 20, 2021 GMT

ROXBORO, N.C. (AP) — A police officer was justified in using deadly force and will not be charged with any crimes for fatally shooting a defendant who was scuffling with an armed bailiff in a North Carolina courtroom, a prosecutor said Friday.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said in a news release that his office concluded that Roxboro police officer, J.G. “Trey” Wright III, reasonably believed that he and others were in danger when he shot Christopher Thomas Vaughan, 35, in the Person County courtroom on Sept. 10.

“There is not sufficient evidence to support a prosecution. No further investigation is warranted,” Freeman’s office said.

Vaughan began arguing with Judge Caroline Burnette before he threw a chair and then rushed toward her, WRAL-TV has reported.

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The News & Observer reports that a sheriff’s deputy working as a courtroom bailiff blocked Vaughan and scuffled with him on the ground. Wright ran to help when Vaughan reached for the deputy’s gun and shot Vaughan in the head during the altercation, the newspaper reports.

Roxboro is the county seat of Person County. Freeman’s office handled the case instead of Person County District Attorney Mike Waters to avoid a potential conflict of interest.