Jose Adan Cruz Ocampo, 33

Durham, North Carolina
July 27, 2013

Agencies: State Bureau of Investigations SBI North Carolina | Durham Police Department North Carolina

Cause of death: Shooting

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Last updated: almost 6 years ago


Three witnesses told a private investigator that a man with a knife, who was shot and killed by a Durham police officer last Saturday morning, was presenting the knife by the handle to another officer when the officer opened fire and killed him, according to an attorney representing the man’s family.

“It is unreasonable to believe that a person presenting the handle of a knife posed a threat of death or imminent bodily harm,” attorney Scott Holmes in a news release. “Based upon the eyewitness statements of the three non-officers on the scene, the Durham officer did not accurately assess the threat or properly interpret the behavior of Mr. Ocampo.”

The Durham Police Department said officers “confronted the male, who refused to drop the knife, and the male was shot during the confrontation.” The dead man was later identified as Jose Adan Cruz Ocampo, 33, of Honduras.

Holmes has taken the case for the Ocampo family, and on Friday, he released a different version of events than the one given by the Durham Police Department.

The incident occurred after police were dispatched to a stabbing call in the 700 block of Park Avenue about 8:40 a.m. on July 27. When they arrived, they found a man who had been cut on the face and was bleeding.

Someone nearby then yelled to Ocampo in Spanish to throw the knife down, and as he was handing the officer the handle of the knife, one of officers shot Ocampo, striking him multiple times in the chest. He died at the scene.

The officer was identified as R.S. Mbuthia.

The Durham police investigation revealed that the person down the street who was reportedly stabbed and been wounded by a broken bottle, not a knife. He was transported to the hospital, where he was treated and released for his wounds.

Legal Action

August 2013

The Civil Litigation Clinic at the North Carolina Central University School of Law has taken the case for the family of Jose Ocampo

February 2014 Officers cleared - no charges