BENSON – Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle announced Monday a Johnston County sheriff’s detective was legally justified when he shot a suspect last year in Benson. Detective Michael Wilson will not face any charges.
On May 5, 2021, Detective Wilson was part of a multi-jurisdictional operation attempting to located Oshea Quashon Massey, age 24, of Dunn, who had several outstanding warrants for drug trafficking offenses. Massey was a validated gang member with prior felony convictions for possession of a firearm by a felon, second-degree burglary and various drug offenses.
Law enforcement agencies conducted a briefing prior to the start of the operation alerting officers that Oshea Massey could be armed and dangerous and was known to frequently possession firearms, according to a press release from District Attorney Doyle.
Officers observed a social media post Massey posted that day of a firearm. Massey was on probation for felony convictions and was required to wear an ankle monitor with a GPS tracking device. Officers determined Massey was at 405 East Branch Street in Benson.
Officers arrived at the address and located Massey in the passenger seat of a car driven by Tyeverette Blue. Officers surrounded the vehicle and announced themselves as law enforcement officers. Detective Wilson was wearing his Johnston County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) issued vest that included visible JCSO law enforcement patches and his badge. Wilson was also wearing a duty belt, issued gear, and service weapon.
Detective Wilson approached the passenger side of the car standing near the right front tire and told both Blue and Massey to show their hands. Blue immediately put his hands up, but Massey did not. Massey was sitting in the passenger seat facing the windshield with the window down, bending down toward the floorboard. Officers advised the suspect multiple times to show them his hands, but he refused. Massey looked directly at the officers but refused to show his hands.
Detective Wilson then observed Oshea Massey’s arms and shoulders move back and forth then jerk his body and hands toward the officer.
District Attorney Doyle stated, “Wilson immediately feared for his safety as well as the safety of the other officers believing Massey was grabbing a gun. Wilson fired one shot toward Massey with his duty-issued Glock 17 firearm. Wilson was approximately 20 feet away from Massey at the time he fired his weapon. Massey suffered a single gunshot wound to the wrist.”
Officers began applying first aid and called for EMS over the radio. Massey was taken by ambulance to WakeMed where he was treated for the gunshot wound.
The NC State Bureau of Investigation responded and processed the scene. The vehicle was seized and towed to a secure lot where a search warrant was conducted. Officers seized a loaded Taurus firearm from the vehicle as well as a cell phone, money, two scales, a small baggie containing suspected heroin, and a small baggie containing suspected marijuana.
After his release from the hospital, Oshea Massey was taken into custody by law enforcement. He was later indicted by the United States Attorney’s Office for federal drug charges. He is currently in federal custody awaiting trial on those indictments. The drug charges were the same charges that the law enforcement officers had active warrants on for his arrest the day Massey was shot.
District Attorney Doyle said, state law authorizes law enforcement to use deadly force upon another person to defend himself or a third person from what the officer reasonably believes to be the imminent use of deadly physical force or to effect an arrest.
“Officers must make split-second decisions regarding their use of force. Under the circumstances observed by Detective Michael Wilson, his use of force was both reasonable and warranted. Massey presented an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to Wilson and the other law enforcement officers when he refused to show his hands as instructed, made further movements in the floorboard area of the vehicle, and then quickly jerked his body and hands upward toward Wilson,” Doyle said in a statement.
“After a thorough review of the NCSBI investigative report and several discussions with the investigating officer, Special Agent Byron S. Watson, I have concluded that Detective Wilson was legally justified in his use of force. As a result, no criminal charges against Detective Wilson will be filed related to this incident.”