Body cam: Raleigh officer fires off 18 rounds at suspect who ignored commands

Elaina Athans Image
Friday, April 12, 2024
Body cam shows Raleigh officer firing multiple rounds at suspect
Body cam shows Raleigh officer firing multiple rounds at suspect who ignored police commands.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two months after a Raleigh police officer shot a bystander while trying to arrest a man, his body camera video has been released.

Raleigh Police Department (RPD) released the video Friday morning.

The shooting happened on the night of February 10 near Rock Quarry Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. According to RPD, officers were called to the area to investigate a possible shooting. When they arrived they initially found nothing, but then heard several gunshots.

In its 5-day report from Feb. 16, RPD stated that Officer M.L. Berg ran toward the gunshots. His body camera reportedly shows that within seconds of hearing the gunshots, Berg locates a man holding what appears to be a gun.

WARNING: The video below may be disturbing for some viewers.

Berg orders the man to drop the gun and place his hands on his head. He also identifies himself as a police officer.

The newly released video shows a man, identified as Ranses Vacramontes Vargas, continuing to walk away from Berg. He eventually runs behind a red pickup.

You can see in the video that the officer is in the middle of the parking lot without cover as the 5-day report stated. Raleigh Police Department said that's when Berg began firing his gun. He shot off 18 rounds. Berg then notices movement inside the red pickup.

Inside the truck was a bystander not involved with Vargas. Berg's gunshots hit and injured the bystander in the truck.

At this point, Berg's partner arrives and both officers move toward the truck. They find Vargas lying on the ground beside the truck with gunshot wounds. He was treated for those injuries on the scene and at the hospital.

Officers also found two women who they say Vargas shot before officers arrived. He has been charged in that case with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

The Raleigh Police Department 5-day report has been released following a preliminary investigation into a shooting by an officer at Rock Quarry Road.

After the shooting community activists pushed for transparency from RPD and the release of the body cam video.

The shooting happened in the same area where Darryl Williams died, in January 2023, as police were taking him into custody. Officers used a stun gun multiple times on Williams. The officers, in that case, were later cleared of any wrongdoing.

The family is being represented by Ben Crump and has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Raleigh in March seeking $25 million.

RPD released the body camera video of that incident a month after Williams' death.

Williams was the man who died last month in police custody after being tased three times.

RPD told ABC11 on Friday that the administrative investigation is ongoing. RPD also said it had no update on Vargas's status or location.