Huntersville, NC – Police have released bodycam footage of the 2017 officer-involved shooting of an armed hospital patient, who fired several rounds inside a hospital room before he was confronted by officers (video below).
The incident occurred at the Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center on Sep. 10, 2017, at approximately 11:30 p.m., when a nurse entered the room of 76-year-old Joseph Cook, and witnessed him taking a gun out of a suitcase, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The nurse fled from the room to find a security officer, and was returning to the area with the unarmed guard when she heard gunfire.
The security officer then watched Cook as he walked out into the hallway, firearm in hand, and disappeared down a corridor, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Bodycam footage of the scene, which was released on Monday, showed Huntersville Police Department (HPD) Officer Michael Joseph, Officer Travis Watts, and a third unnamed officer as they arrived at the hospital, and instructed personnel to lock down.
A security guard directed the officers upstairs, and police stepped into an elevator, where they briefly discussed their plan to subdue the gunman.
“Alright. We find this dude, and we prone him out, you’re the only one who’s gonna go hands-on with him because he’s got a rifle and I’ve got a shield,” one officer told another.
“This is the real deal, dude. Buckle up, man,” a third officer said, as the elevator doors slid open.
The officers began to move down a corridor, and someone off-camera near a nurses’ station told them to go to the “other side.”
They continued to search through the hallways, and ultimately encountered Cook near another nurses’ station.
"Sir, show me your hands! Show me your hands! Do it now!" one officer yelled at Cook, who was off-camera.
“He’s got a gun! Got a gun! Drop it!” another officer cautioned, just before the sound of gunfire erupted.
Officers Watts and Joseph later told the State Bureau of Investigation that Cook aimed his weapon at Watts just before they opened fire on the man, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The video showed the officers moving around a counter area towards the inner portion of the nurses’ station.
"Sir! Put that gun down! Drop the gun ... do not move! Do not move!" an officer told Cook.
The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cook had purchased the weapon in 2011, according to KPLC.
On Dec. 14, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather determined that the officers’ use of force was justified.
“In this case, the officers were responding to an active shooter in a hospital,” Merriweather wrote to Huntersville Police Chief Cleveland Spruill, according to The Charlotte Observer. “When they encountered the subject, Cook pointed a gun at a police officer. Under these circumstances I have determined that these officers acted within the bounds of the law, and no charges will be sought against them.”
Cook, who was reportedly a Hurricane Irma evacuee, had been traveling from Florida to New York when he was hospitalized, The Charlotte Observer reported. The reason for his hospital admittance was unclear.
You can see the bodycam video of the incident below. Warning - Graphic Content: