CA: Officer accidentally shot man, will not be charged

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Chesapeake officer who shot an unarmed man in Portsmouth will not be charged by prosecutors, who say it was all just an accident.

Bill Prince, a spokesman for the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney, said a Portsmouth police investigation determined the shooting of 27-year-old Michael L. Smith was unintentional. He said there was no evidence that Chesapeake Officer Elliot Boyd, Jr. had any criminal intent.

Boyd's police vehicle with a bullet hole through the windshield, at the June 12, 2014 scene (WAVY).
Boyd’s police vehicle with a bullet hole through the windshield, at the June 12, 2014 scene (WAVY).

Smith was walking near the intersection of South Street and Cumberland Avenue around 2:20 p.m., June 12 when he was approached by Boyd in an unmarked patrol car. The officer was trying to serve Smith outstanding warrants from Maryland for first degree burglary, fourth degree burglary, malicious destruction of property, stolen firearm, third degree burglary and theft $1,000 to $10,000, according to Lt. Joe Zurolo with the Elkton Police Department.

“As the officers’ vehicle approached Smith in an attempt to apprehend him, a firearm was discharged from inside the unmarked police vehicle,” Portsmouth Detective Misty Holley said.

Boyd shot his firearm through the windshield of his vehicle; the bullet grazed Smith’s arm and entered his chest.

“Yes, [the bullet] went through the windshield … it struck me … and the bullet is still in me … I did not have a gun … I did have a pocket knife,” Smith told WAVY.com from Portsmouth City Jail several days after the incident.

Smith said Boyd’s partner immediately questioned the officer’s actions: “The partner said, ‘why did you fire?’ The officer who shot me then went back and sat in the car.”

VIDEO: Full jailhouse interview with Michael Smith

Smith was carrying a plastic bag at the time he was shot on June 12, 2014 (WAVY).
Smith was carrying a plastic bag at the time he was shot on June 12, 2014 (WAVY).

Smith was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, treated, and several days later taken to Portsmouth City Jail.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said Smith did not give Boyd any reason to shoot him.

Chesapeake Police Chief Kelvin Wright released a statement this week, saying Officer Boyd — a 25-year police veteran — remains on administrative duty while the department complete’s an internal investigation of the incident.

“The purpose of this investigation is to review and determine if the department’s policies and procedures were correctly followed,” Wright said. “The conduct of the officer as it relates to the performance of their duties will be evaluated and if appropriate corrective action will take place.”

The results of the internal investigation will not be released to the public, he said.

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