NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Two North Charleston police officers are back on the job after being cleared in a deadly shooting that happened earlier this year.
The officers, Juan Estrada and Justin Whittaker, were responding to a citizen complaint that someone had broken into their vehicle on the morning of January 16, 2022.
After being identified as the suspect, police said Junnie Williams, 35, attempted to run away while in the area of Crossroads Drive near Greenridge Road. A struggle ensued as officers worked to apprehend the armed man and shots were fired. Williams was struck.
Williams was taken to Trident Medical Center where he later died.
Attorneys representing the two officers announced that Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson closed her investigation and that neither of the officers would be charged in the case.
In a letter to NCPD Chief Reggie Burgess, Solicitor Wilson said analysis from the State Law Enforcement Division showed Williams pointed a firearm at the officers during the incident.
She said the officers warned Williams that he would be tased if he did not comply during a foot chase. They could also be heard in audio recordings calling for backup because the suspect had a gun.
Solicitor Wilson said that based on evidence, it did not appear the officers committed any crimes in their actions and that SLED agents would agree.
“Based on available evidence, it appears the officers reasonably believed they were in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death from the suspect,” Wilson wrote. “Williams presented the firearm in a dangerous and reckless manner threatening the lives of law enforcement and possibly the public at large.”
They said the officers were “relieved” that the State Law Enforcement Division’s investigation of the incident was completed.
“Officers Estrada and Whittaker are thankful to be released from Administrative Leave and to be back with their Police Teams, once again serving and protecting the citizens of North Charleston.”
A spokesman for the North Charleston Police Department, Harve Jacobs, said the officers were both back on full duty.