JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — District Attorney Ernie Lee said in a Monday press conference that the death of a woman on Thanksgiving Day in a shooting by an Onslow County deputy was justified.
An investigation began after Sunshine Foy was shot and killed by a deputy in Hubert at a home on Willow Street, just off NC Hwy. 172, on Nov. 24. The incident began as a traffic stop.
The officer, who was not named, was placed on administrative leave, which is procedure, pending the completion of an investigation that included Lee, the NC State Bureau of Investigation and the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. He has since returned to work.
“After reviewing the investigation of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), I have determined that Foy’s death, while tragic due to loss of life, was justified because Foy’s actions caused a deputy with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office to reasonably believe it necessary to use deadly force to protect his life and the lives of others at the scene,” Lee said in a media release which came after the press conference.
Lee said a truck driven by Foy had an expired registration. The deputy involved in the shooting tried to stop the vehicle and, in the process, Foy jumped out and began running down Willow Street while two men remained inside. Another deputy remained with the stopped vehicle.
Evidence showed Foy had run into a trailer at 210 Willow Street. The resident, who did not know Foy, told her to go into a bedroom in the trailer after Foy told her she was running from deputies.
The deputy involved in the shooting said he approached the trailer with another deputy, who had a K-9 with him, and announced who they were. They entered the trailer and began searching for Foy. The deputy who shot Foy found her hiding and told her to come out. As he was moving clothing Foy was using to hide, he said Foy pulled a silver handgun and pointed it at his face. She pulled the trigger but the gun did not go off.
The other deputy yelled “gun.” The deputy involved said he stepped back and tried to get behind a piece of furniture. He told Foy to drop the gun before she attempted to fire it again. The deputy also tried to fire his gun but it either jammed or had a misfire.
The deputy threw his flashlight down, used his left hand to fix the malfunction and, after Foy raised her gun at the deputy’s face for a third time, “he fired five to six rounds at Foy,” Lee said in the media release.
“The general rules of self-defense in the state of North Carolina and the defense of others permit you to use deadly force to protect yourself when you honestly believe that you’re in fear of death or great bodily injury,” Lee said at the press conference. “And this belief is reasonable. I find that the deputy did so find in that his belief was reasonable.”
Foy died from her injuries at Naval Medical Center later that day. It was discovered Foy had a long criminal history dating back to 1997, including an outstanding warrant on drug-related charges in Carteret County.
The media release includes a statement from the deputy who fired the fatal shot, the other deputy about what happened as well as the two men inside the vehicle which was pulled over. An autopsy was also conducted on Foy’s body.