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Police shooting of 26-year-old man sparks protests in North Carolina

The Raleigh police chief said online rumors said officers responded to a 911 call about a stolen pizza. Body-cam video will show the man has a pizza box, "but he also has a gun."

An officer's shooting of a 26-year-old man in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday night sparked protests and a claim by police that misinformation about the incident was spreading online.

An officer shot Javier Torres in the abdomen by around 6:45 p.m. after police got a 911 call about a man with a gun, authorities said.

The male caller asked for an officer to be sent to a restaurant because of eight men standing outside, one of whom the caller said had a gun "strapped on him," according to 911 calls released by police. The caller told the dispatcher that the man with the gun did not use the weapon in a threatening manner but was "flashing it around."

The man called 911 a second time to provide more details, and in a third call he said someone had threatened him and his family.

"When officers arrived at the scene, they observed an individual who matched the description given by the 911 caller," the Raleigh Police Department said in a news release. "This individual was later identified as Javier Torres. Mr. Torres ran upon the arrival of the responding officers and a foot chase ensued, during which police repeatedly ordered Mr. Torres to stop and drop the gun."

An officer involved in the chase shot Torres once, the department said. Torres was taken to a nearby hospital in unknown condition. No officers were injured.

Police tweeted Tuesday night that a gun was found near Torres at the scene and that the State Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the investigation.

Image: Police shooting demonstration in Raleigh
Demonstrators face off with police at an intersection early Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Raleigh, North Carolina, after an officer-involved shooting.Kerwin Pittman / via AP

Crowds amassed in downtown Raleigh to protest the shooting, a video by NBC affiliate WRAL showed.

"We tired of y'all killing our sons. We tired of y'all shooting our boys," one protester declared.

Many of the protesters chanted, "No justice, no peace." Some went to the home of the police chief, Cassandra Deck-Brown, and to the governor's mansion, where a flag was reported to have been taken down and burned, according to WRAL, citing a police officer. The protesters dispersed around 3 a.m.

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Deck-Brown spoke about the protests and what she said was misinformation about the shooting.

She addressed a rumor circulating online that the 911 call was in regard to a stolen pizza. She said that the call came in about a man with a gun and that once police body-camera video is released it will show what happened.

"You will see that the individual does have a pizza box, but he also has a gun, and that's the original call that went out," she said.

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The chief also asked protesters to demonstrate within the confines of the law.

"While the Raleigh Police Department upholds the public's right to peaceful protests, we do want to remind our community that damaging another person's property or causing injury to them is unlawful," she said. "So we ask the protesters to please conduct themselves within the boundaries of the law."

She continued: "This is not who we are as a city. But it's important that individuals who have a desire to voice their concerns, there is a method by which they can do that."

The police department was seeking a court order for release of the body-camera video, Deck-Brown said. WRAL reported Wednesday morning that a judge agreed to release the video.