On Thursday afternoon, the Greensboro Police Department released the name of the most recent person shot and killed by police.
According to an update to the press release, police say Ernesto Ruiz, 41 years old, was shot and killed after he was confronted by police on Friday, June 30.
“Law enforcement has exhausted all resources in attempt to locate any next of kin for Ruiz,” the update stated.
As TCB has reported in the past, Ruiz’s death is the second in two weeks in which police officers have killed someone in Greensboro.
According to the police release, police officers were dispatched near Randleman Road around 9:40 p.m. after calls came in about gunfire. Upon arriving to the scene police realized that the sounds were actually fireworks. However, about 15 minutes later, they encountered a person who they say was wielding a knife and a machete. According to the press release, there was a foot pursuit and officers attempted to use a Taser and pepper spray to subdue the person who ran to a nearby gas station. Once there, police said the person turned towards the officers and” began advancing towards officers with the knives.” Three officers then shot and killed Ruiz.
But questions remain.
Why not use a Taser or pepper spray when the person was closer? Why not shoot the person in the leg? Why were there three officers shooting? Why wasn’t the city’s behavioral co-response team dispatched alongside police?
The press release (if we are to believe everything it says on its face) states that police used less than lethal force during the chase. But what about when the person was closer?
In July of 2020, GPD modified their own directives to “require officers to verbally issue a warning, if possible, before the use of deadly force. This should include the use of a Taser, pepper stray, or the release of a police dog.”
The circumstances surrounding Ruiz’s death sound harrowingly like the Chieu Di Thi Vo case. While many may not remember Vo’s name, the case took place less than a decade ago.
In that instance, Greensboro resident and Vietnamese immigrant Chieu Di Thi Vo was shot and killed by Greensboro Police Officer Timothy Bloch. At the time, the police department, which was led by Chief Wayne Scott, and the District Attorney’s office found that the shooting was justified. Since then, Bloch has put out a book and has maintained that he acted justifiably in shooting and killing Vo.
As for the June 30 shooting, more reporting is clearly needed. Body-camera footage, like in the case of Vo, will only be revealed if the police department, city council or members of the public petition the courts to have it released, or if members of the deceased’s family request to see it.
The press release states that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an ongoing criminal investigation and there are no additional updates.
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