Officer cleared in fatal shooting
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — A Salisbury Police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in the December shooting death of a Salisbury man.
Officer K.H. Boehm, a three-year veteran, responded to a suspicious person call at 319 Vance Ave. on the night of Dec. 3. The suspicious person was later identified as Robert Lee Faulkner, 37.
The SBI was called to investigate the shooting.
Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook reviewed the agency’s investigation and concluded “no criminal charges will be filed against him (Officer Boehm) for the shooting death of Mr. Robert Lee Faulkner,” she said in a statement Monday.
Faulkner was causing a disturbance at an apartment and refused to comply with the officer’s orders to move away from the apartment.
Jerry King said he had been drinking alcohol with Faulkner and kicked Faulkner out of his apartment. Faulkner also had cocaine and marijuana in his system.
King told investigators he heard the officer tell Faulkner to step away from the apartment.
Faulkner threatened the officer with a beer bottle, Police Chief Rory Collins said following the shooting.
After repeated commands to put down the bottle, Faulkner complied, and Boehm tried to arrest him.
As the officer attempted to place Faulkner in handcuffs, the man resisted.
Faulkner charged at the officer and the two struggled, a statement said.
The officer was not able to reach for his baton or pepper spray because Faulkner was on top of him. Faulkner repeatedly punched the officer in the face.
“Officer Boehm believed that Mr. Faulkner was trying to knock him unconscious and he feared for his safety at this time,” the statement said.
After numerous warnings to stop, the officer shot Faulkner in the arm, shoulder and chest. Faulkner was taken to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. He died the next day.
“Emergency personnel noted that there was no lighting and that Mr. Faulkner was combative and smelled of alcohol,” the statement said.
Boehm had not been issued a Taser at the time of the shooting. Only patrol supervisors had stun guns.
A crime scene search revealed three .40-caliber shell casings along with a bottle of Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin. The firearms exam and subsequent identification report confirmed three .40-caliber cartridge cases were fired from Boehm’s gun, the statement said.
Collins said within days after the shooting that he believed Boehm followed department policy.
The medical examiner concluded that Faulkner had been shot three times. Medical records indicate that Faulkner’s laboratory urine results at the hospital were positive for cocaine and marijuana.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.