A York County, S.C., sheriff's deputy who shot an unarmed North Carolina man Tuesday night thought the 70-year-old military veteran was reaching for a shotgun instead of his walking cane, sheriff's officials said Wednesday, the Rock Hill (SC) Herald reports. Deputy Terrance Knox, 24, has been placed on paid administrative leave until an investigation into the shooting incident is resolved. The victim, Bobby Canipe of N.C., was still in a Charlotte hospital last night in stable condition.
Candace McCoy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, an expert in police use of force, said investigators will consider whether Knox was reasonably justified in shooting Canipe, a finding that is often subjective. “It's what was going on in the mind of that officer,” McCoy said. “If you reasonably believe that this officer perceived danger, even though there was not danger, then the officer is not out of compliance. When you really look into these circumstances and try to put yourself into the shoes of the officer, it's not easy. It's often juries that have to sort it out.”