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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SC- MB officers who fatally shot man won't face charges

7-22-2006 South Carolina:

Officers who fatally shot a man on Ocean Boulevard over the summer were acting in self-defense and will not be prosecuted, the solicitor's office said on Monday.

Codyus Naville Morris, 24, was shot at about 10 p.m. on July 18 on the bustling 900 block of Ocean Boulevard near The Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park.

"A gun battle on a crowded Ocean Boulevard during the summer season in the late evening hours created a tremendous risk of loss of life, both to the parties involved and innocent bystanders," the report stated. "Officers, however, engaged in no conduct that rises to the level of criminal conduct and were fully justified, under the specific circumstances of this case, in employing lethal force."

The finding also ends a state investigation into the incident.

This effectively closes the investigation, said Bobbi Schlatterer, spokeswoman for the State Law Enforcement Division. Witnesses at the time said the area was brimming with tourists and jam-packed with traffic.

Morris was driving down Ocean Boulevard when police tried to stop him after someone told them he had a gun, the solicitor's report said. Morris drove onto the crowded sidewalk to try to get away, but crashed into a tree and stopped, the report said.

Morris raised his gun, a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, after repeatedly being told to put it down and turned toward the officers, the report said.

They police fired hitting him several times, the report said. He died at the scene, the coroner said.

Morris' gun was loaded but was not working after it was shot by one of the officers, the report said. It did not say whether Morris fired his gun.

The report said that Morris may have tried to get away from police because he was not legally allowed to have a gun because of his criminal past.

Codyus Carter had a 2-year-old son and was planning on marrying a woman with a 5-year-old daughter, his grandmother said.

"He was a nice person," she said. "It makes me feel kind of sad, but there's nothing to be done about it."

She said she wasn't there so she could not say if she believed the report.

"Codyus isn't there to talk for himself," said Ruth Carter, Codyus Carter's grandmother. "They said it was self-defense, but there's two sides for everything, ain't that right?" ..more.. by Lisa Fleisher, The Sun News

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