No charges filed for Kannapolis firefighter, family disappointed
By Shavonne Walker
The family of David Robert Pittarelli Jr. say they are disappointed that authorities won’t file charges against a Kannapolis firefighter that shot and killed the Charlotte man.
Investigators determined firefighter Ryan Cochran was acting in self defense when he fatally shot Pittarelli, who was the aggressor and may have mistaken Cochran and his girlfriend for other people.
Concord Police Chief Merl Hamilton announced the decision made by his department and Cabarrus County District Attorney Roxanne Vaneekhoven at a Tuesday morning news conference.
The decision comes two weeks after the shooting where Pittarelli, 33, was shot multiple times by Cochran, who was returning home from a baseball game with his girlfriend, Jessica Troutman.
Hamilton, flanked by investigators, spoke about the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“The police department expresses condolences to all involved with this tragic incident, but in particular to the Pittarelli family,” Hamilton said.
Cochran, who has been a firefighter since 2012, has been suspended with pay since the April 30 shooting. The city of Kannapolis issued this statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and friends of both Mr. David Pittarelli and Mr. Ryan Cochran. This is a very tragic event that has profoundly impacted our community.
“We have been awaiting the results of the investigation into this matter by the Concord Police Department and the Cabarrus County District Attorney’s Office. We will review the conclusions of their investigation. With no criminal charges being filed, Mr. Cochran’s suspension can be rescinded.”
David Pittarelli Sr. said he believes it’s possible his son may have been intoxicated and consumed other substances that night, but he said Cochran admitted he’d also consumed alcohol that night.
Pittarelli questioned why detectives did not require Cochran to submit to a breathalyzer test to determine his alcohol content.
He said he’s had an extremely difficult week — the family buried David Pittarelli Jr. on Saturday and now received news about the investigation. Pittarelli said he had such a difficult time getting his son to New York that he had no choice but to have a closed casket funeral because of the state of his son’s body.
“I’m exhausted, but I will not give up on my attempt to seek justice,” he said.
David Pittarelli Sr.’s brother, Rick Pitarelli, had a hard time with expressing his feelings about the outcome of the investigation.
He, too wanted more questions answered by authorities, particularly concerning evidence.
Rick Pittarelli said he would like to see the evidence on Jessica Troutman that showed his nephew hit her.
“Police did not take a picture. There’s no evidence,” he said.
Rick Pittarelli questioned whether the law allows for people with concealed-carry permits to carry their weapons if they’ve consumed alcohol.
He supports his brother’s decision to pursue further investigation.
“When there’s so many questions you have running in your mind. The family needs closure and you can’t get closure when you need answers,” Rick Pittarelli said.
He disagrees with investigators determination that Cochran tried to administer CPR to his nephew. He said the time frame doesn’t add up. He questioned that in the time that Cochran was on the phone with 911 and officers arrived, when would he have performed CPR.
According to the 911 phone call Cochran was on the phone with dispatchers until police arrived.
He said his nephew wasn’t the height and weight investigators said. Rick Pittarelli said David was 6-foot-2-inches and 230 pounds.
“I’m disappointed it came to the resolution of the decision they made. I don’t have to agree with it. My brother doesn’t have to accept it, that’s why I support him,” he said.
Rick Pittarelli said he wants people to know his nephew wasn’t a monster.
“Every human being on this earth has faults and we’ve all done something wrong. He was a compassionate person who loved his son dearly. He tried to focus on his walk with Jesus Christ every day,” he said.
A phone call to Ryan Cochran was not immediately returned.
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