Raleigh police release footage of deadly shooting near middle school

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Thursday, May 4, 2023
Raleigh police release footage of deadly shooting near middle school
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Ligon Magnet Middle School was placed on a Code Yellow status for a short-time while the incident was taking place.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh police have released bodycam footage of a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened near a Raleigh middle school.

It happened in March when police responded to 911 calls about a man shooting a gun near Ligon Magnet Middle School.

When officers arrived at the scene March 27, Jorge Luis Vega-Lesama shot at them, according to a report released by police. This can be seen at the 2:24 mark in the Youtube video.


An officer can be heard saying "Shots fired, shots fired, suspect is shooting."

One officer returned fire three times and the suspect fired back before running behind a house where the officers lost sight of him.

An officer can be heard saying "Suspect is actively firing at us" before he ducks for cover behind his patrol vehicle. "We have no line of sight."

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A short time later, Vega-Lesama moved back toward the front of the home. Officers said he still had a gun in his hand. An officer shot Vega-Lesama; he died from his injuries.

From behind his patrol vehicle, the officer can be heard discharging his rifle four times before saying, "Shots fired. Suspect is down. I need EMS."

As officers approach Vega-Lesama, a handgun can be seen lying in a driveway a few feet away from him.

Lee Turner was an RPD officer for nearly a decade -- and represents Sgt. R.A. Sirianna -- who the report says fired deadly shots. Turner said the body cam video shows officers following their training.

"Watching the video, what really jumps out at me is the training and the professionalism that kicked in among the officers involved that morning," said Turner.

He added that responding to a situation like this can prove particularly difficult, as the neighborhood included houses that were close together, and people leaving to go to work.

"You have officers that respond in a way So whatever may pop up in front of them, they have the ability to respond to it immediately," Turner said. "And Sgt. Syriana in the video is well-prepared as he comes down the street."

Police consultant Chet Epperson is a former police chief who served in law enforcement for decades. He told ABC11 that these incidents have a lasting effect on those involved.

"Pulling that trigger is a life-altering moment," said Epperson. "So you, the police officer, has to deal with not only taking someone's potentially taking someone's life, and then after the fact -- the aftermath of the shooting has an impact on the law enforcement officer and the person who he or she shot at."

The middle school was placed on a CODE YELLOW status for a short time while the incident was taking place and being investigated.

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