OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
21st PROSECUTORIAL DISTRICT (FORSYTH COUNTY)
JAMES R. O’NEILL, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
NEWS RELEASE 11-4-2014
In Re: Shooting Death of Montez Dewayne Hambric
On May 25, 2014, at approximately 8AM, Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) officers chased Montez Hambric, a hit-and-run suspect, who ran from police. During the course of the chase and arrest, Hambric was shot and killed by Officer D.W. Walsh of the WSPD. The Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office and the WSPD requested that the State Bureau of Investigation conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The SBI completed an exhaustive investigation and forwarded a copy of the complete investigative file to the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office.
The SBI report revealed the following details of the incident: On the morning of May 25, 2014, WSPD Officer A.G. Thrush encountered Montez Hambric while running stationary radar near a ramp leading onto Highway 52. Hambric fit the description of a suspect in a hit-and-run accident minutes earlier, and Hambric had blood on his hands and clothing. Hambric provided a false name to Officer Thrush, and then took off running.
Officer D.W. Walsh pursued and eventually located Hambric running through a greenway near Marshall Street. Officer Walsh caught up with Hambric and commanded Hambric to get on the ground. Hambric refused to comply and became aggressive, eventually charging at Officer Walsh in a boxing stance. Officer Walsh then tazed Hambric, who continued to resist and jumped back to his feet. Officer Walsh subsequently lost control of his ASP baton, while pulling it from his belt. Hambric grabbed the baton, walked toward Officer Walsh with the baton in hand, and then began running again. Officer Walsh drew his pistol and pursued Hambric.
Hambric ran into the woods then came out of the woods twice holding the baton in an aggressive manner. Hambric continued to refuse to comply with Officer Walsh’s instructions to get on the ground. Hambric continued to aggressively approach Officer Walsh wielding the baton. Ignoring multiple commands to halt, Hambric, with the WSPD baton still in hand, came within five feet of Officer Walsh, who fired one shot striking Hambric.
At the time of this incident, Montez Hambric was on parole for a robbery conviction out of Kentucky, and had accumulated numerous other convictions out of North Carolina. Hambric also had felony charges pending in Orange County. The vehicle that Hambric was driving at the time of this incident has also been reported stolen out of Chapel Hill. A toxicology report done at autopsy showed that Hambric had cocaine in his system.
The first officer to come to Officer Walsh’s aid, wearing an Axon Body Cam, recorded the scene upon approach. The video clearly shows the deceased, shirtless, in possession of Officer Walsh’s baton.
After a thorough review of the SBI investigation, the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office has determined that Officer Walsh’s use of force was justified pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 15A-401(d)(2)(a) and 15A-401(d)(2)(b). The investigation demonstrates that Officer Walsh acted to protect his life and to protect the lives of others in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on May 25, 2014.