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State v. Cook

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

June 20, 2017

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, Plaintiff,
v.
OMAR COOK, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 9 March 2017.

         Appeal by Defendant from judgments entered 9 February 2016 by Judge Hugh B. Lewis in Mecklenburg County Superior Court Mecklenburg County, No. 14CRS20599, 20600.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Lars F. Nance, for the State.

          Ann B. Petersen for the Defendant.

          DILLON, Judge.

         Omar Cook ("Defendant") appeals from two convictions for felonious assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer. For the following reasons, we find no error in Defendant's trial.

         I. Background

         In February 2015, uniformed officers executed a search warrant at Defendant's residence while Defendant was upstairs in his bedroom. Defendant's family members resisted as the officers gained entry and secured the downstairs.

         Two officers proceeded upstairs, announcing that they were there to serve a warrant. One officer encountered Defendant's closed bedroom door. The officer announced that he was a police officer and that he was going to kick in the door. The officer's foot went through the door on the first kick. Defendant fired two gunshots from inside the bedroom through the still-unopened door and the drywall adjacent to the door, narrowly missing the officer.

         The officers eventually entered Defendant's room where they found a shell casing and noticed an open window. Officers followed footprints in the snow below the open window and found Defendant barefoot and wearing undershorts. Defendant was taken into custody. A handgun was recovered near the residence with DNA that matched Defendant's DNA profile.

         The jury found Defendant guilty of two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer with a firearm. Defendant timely appealed.

         II. Summary

         In his sole argument on appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for a self-defense instruction. He argues that he was entitled to the instruction based on his testimony which tended to show that:

• Defendant was asleep when the officer arrived at his bedroom door.
• His girlfriend woke him up, he heard loud banging on his bedroom door and saw a foot come through the door "a split second" after waking up.
• He did not hear the police announce their presence but did hear his mother and brother "wailing" downstairs.
• He was "scared for [his] life . . . thought someone was breaking in the house . . . hurting his family downstairs and coming to hurt [him] next."
• He stated that when he fired his weapon he had "no specific intention" and was "just ...

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