By WRAL Staff
SILER CITY, North Carolina (WRAL) — The North Carolina State Highway Patrol on Tuesday released dash camera video showing a trooper shooting a man who emerged from his driver’s seat with a gun in his hand during a May 30 traffic stop in Chatham County.
A trooper stopped a white pickup truck around 4:30 p.m. in the Harmony Hills subdivision in Siler City after observing the front seat passenger and driver not wearing seatbelts, according to the Highway Patrol. The trooper noticed the truck on U.S. Highway 64, made a U-turn and followed the truck into the neighborhood.
The driver was identified as Mark Anthony Diaz, 21, of Staley, North Carolina.
The dash camera video shows Trooper Rodney N. Cook talking to Diaz while he is still in the driver’s seat. Cook asks Diaz why he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and asks him if there is marijuana in the truck, saying he thought he smelled it. Diaz does not provide a driver’s license upon Cook’s request.
Diaz then steps out of the truck, holding a gun in plain sight. Cook runs around the back of the truck and fires at Diaz.
As Cook fires, the video shows the truck rolling forward, stalling out and a passenger jumping from the truck and running away.
After the shot rings out, the video shows Diaz laying in the street, injured, still holding a gun. Cook can be heard asking Diaz to drop the gun while radioing for help.
Cook slowly approaches Diaz and moves the gun out of his reach. He calls for EMS and begins administering CPR until an ambulance arrives.
“Sorry, he pulled a gun on me,” Cook said as backup troopers and paramedics arrived. A responding trooper tells him to calm down.
The trooper can be heard asking Diaz to “stay with me” as he performs chest compressions.
During a vigil following his death, Diaz’s family said they don’t know how the shooting could have happened. Diaz’s brother, Moses Diaz, told WRAL News he saw the video on Friday along with other family members. The funeral was held Monday in Chatham County.
“We know how our brother was to all of us,” Moses Diaz said. “What we know about him is in our hearts and that is what is keeping us together, to be honest.”
Diaz’s mother, Matilda Diaz, spoke with WRAL News last month through an interpreter and said she wants to know truth behind what happened. She said her son didn’t deserve this fate and that Diaz was a good person.
“She wants to see video or evidence that he pulled out a gun or anything like that that the trooper had a reason to shoot him,” said her interpreter.
The SBI is investigating the shooting. Cook was placed on administrative duty, which is agency protocol in any trooper-involved shooting.
Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.