Raleigh, NC – On Tuesday, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol released dash camera video showing a state trooper shooting a man who emerged from his driver’s seat with a gun during a May 30 traffic stop in Siler City.
The NC Highway State Patrol requested the release of the dashcam footage from Trooper Rodney Cook’s patrol car. NC State Highway Patrol’s troopers don’t wear body cameras.
The video footage shows Cook, a 16-year veteran stationed in Chatham County, pulling over a white Ford pickup truck for a seatbelt violation on Harmony Drive in Siler City on Memorial Day, around 4:37 p.m. The traffic stop followed the trooper noticing a seatbelt violation while driving on U.S. 64.
Dialogue in the video shows the trooper suspected that marijuana was in the truck and he asked if there were any illegal substances in the truck. Trooper Cook asked for identification, which the two individuals claimed not to have any on them. He asked both the driver and the passenger to step out of the vehicle.
During the stop, trooper Cook asked the driver, 21-year-old Mark Anthony Diaz of Staley to exit the truck when he didn’t show his I.D. At this point, Diaz can be seen producing a pistol. He extended the pistol out the window while pointing it in the direction of the trooper.
Cook attempted to block the pistol and retreat back to his patrol car.
The footage shows the driver stepping out of the pickup truck with a gun in his left hand and facing Cook. As Diaz gets out of the car, Trooper Cook fires his service weapon hitting the driver.
The trooper returns to his car to call for backup. After removing the gun from Diaz’s hand and pushing it off to the side, he calls for backup.
A passenger ran from the traffic stop but returned later for an investigation.
Authorities tried to perform life-saving procedures until EMS arrived. Diaz was taken to a local hospital and was later pronounced dead.
Trooper Cook was not injured during this shooting.
Trooper Cook was placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation which is agency protocol in any trooper-involved shooting.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating this incident.