Officer Escapes Murder Charge In PS3-Related Shooting
The U.S. PS3 launch was plagued with many unfortunate crime-related events, perhaps the most depressing of which was the death of 18-year-old Peyton Strickland. Suspected of beating a North Carolina student and stealing two PlayStation 3 consoles, warrants were served and Strickland was fatally shot.
The deadly shots were fired by Christopher Long, a deputy for almost ten years. He was relieved of that position by Sheriff Sid Causey on December 8, and then faced an indictment by a New Hanover County grand jury, according to The Wilmington Star News. During the raid at Strickland's residence, officers watched Strickland near the door through windows, and it's possible he was holding a PS3 controller. It's possible the police mistook that for a weapon, but this wasn't addressed during the hearing. Strickland's roommate, Michael Rhoton, claims Strickland was unarmed.
After the order to open the door, the officers proceeded to break it down. Long, who wasn't part of that process, thought the battering ram strikes on the door were gunshots. He proceeded to return "fire," and Strickland was hit in the shoulder and the head; the final fatal shot had actually ricocheted off another object before striking his skull.
The other officers involved are on paid leave, and have been cleared of any wrongdoing. And not long after, the murder charges against Long were dismissed after a bizarre turn of events. The grand jury foreman admitted to incorrectly checking the wrong box that would ultimately dictate Long's future, and that, we suppose, is that.
Obviously, this hasn't gone over well with Strickland's parents, who had this to say regarding the recent news-
"Yesterday, our son's murderer was going to have to answer for what he did. Today, we just don't know what is going on in Wilmington. We are upset, confused and searching for answers."
12/13/2006 Ben Dutka