Man killed by police on I-440 was not intoxicated, contrary to initial reports from police

Elaina Athans Image
Friday, August 25, 2023
Autopsy: Man was not intoxicated when police shot him on I-440
The autopsy report shows Daniel Turcios had no drugs or alcohol in his system when he was shot and killed by Raleigh police officers.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Community activists are calling for an apology after an autopsy shows Daniel Turcios had no drugs or alcohol in his system when he was shot and killed by Raleigh police officers.

Turcios, 43, was shot after crashing his car on Interstate 440 back in January.

"Mr. Turcios was disoriented. It was clear there was a language barrier between them," said Kerwin Pittman from Emancipate NC. "It was just a cocktail of destruction for Raleigh Police Department clearly because they gunned this man down."

In body cam video released after Turcios' death, he appears agitated and tells officers and others on scene in Spanish that the other driver involved in the crash was "giving him the finger."

Raleigh Police Department initially said Turcios was believed to be intoxicated. Newly released autopsy results disprove that, stating that Turcios only had caffeine and nicotine in his system at the time of his death. No drugs, alcohol or medications were detected.

"I'm infuriated that Raleigh Police Department used the narrative that Mr. Turcios was actually drunk to sway the court of popular opinion," Pittman said. "Clearly this was a man who had just had an accident and who was clearly disoriented and confused. It's heartbreaking."

'Killed like a dog': Family of man shot by officers on I-440 demands transparency, answers

The family of the man killed by police on the side of Interstate 440 said his death was avoidable.

Later in the body cam video, Turcios can be seen with a knife in his hand. He attempts to walk away from the crash site and police officers use a stun gun to try and stop him.

That knocks him to the ground, where officers close in on him and attempt to put him in handcuffs. Turcios struggles against the officers while he still has the knife in his hand. That's when another officer opens fire, killing Turcios.

Raleigh Police Department said Turcios' knife did not injure any of the officers during the struggle.

The autopsy report confirms Turcios was shot five times. Bullets hit his chest, torso and thigh.

Pittman said the police response was extreme and resulted in a wife losing her husband and three children losing their father.

"Why did he have to shoot at all? Why did he have to be shot that many times?" Pittman said.

The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a full review of the shooting and will present the finding to the Wake County District Attorney.

Two officers involved in the incidents have been placed on administrative leave.