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Former South Carolina officer charged with murder after shooting, killing Winston-Salem man outside Chick-fil-A

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A former police officer has been charged with murder after he allegedly shot and killed a man from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, outside of a Chick-fil-A in Summerville, South Carolina.

According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, former Summerville Police Officer Anthony DeLustro, 64, is charged with murder in the death of 39-year-old Michael O’Neal, of Winston-Salem. SLED did not provide a mugshot of DeLustro.

DeLustro was off-duty when SLED says he “engaged in an altercation” at a Chick-fil-A in Summerville. He allegedly shot and killed O’Neal.

On Wednesday, the Summerville Police Department released a statement, which said, in part, “This tragedy has devastated two families and we offer our deepest sympathies to both.”

The full statement from SPD is included below.

“On April 10, 2024, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) notified SPD of their impending charges against former Summerville Police department (SPD) Officer Anthony DeLustro. On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in the interest of transparency and impartiality, Chief Doug Wright requested SLED assume the investigation into the incident which occurred at 1312 N. Main St. in Summerville, S.C. As the judicial process moves forward, the Summerville Police Department will continue to refer inquiries about the incident to SLED. This tragedy has devastated two families and we offer our deepest sympathies to both.

Anthony DeLustro (Berkeley County Jail)
Anthony DeLustro (Berkeley County Jail)

SLED released an affidavit describing the incident, which took place on March 20.

According to the report, DeLustro, who was off-duty but employed by the Summerville Police Department at the time, got out of his vehicle and an “altercation ensued” with O’Neal. Witnesses said that the victim asked DeLustro “Do you want to do this?” several times, and DeLustro responded, “Come on you f—— f—–.” The two exchanged punches and kicks, and bystanders attempted to separate them.

Courtesy of WCBD.

During the fight, DeLustro allegedly told O’Neal he was under arrest. The officer reportedly took his law enforcement credentials out of his back pocket and presented them briefly before the two of them fell to the ground.

During the fight, DeLustro’s Springfield Armory CD handgun fell out of his holster onto the pavement. It landed behind his white Ford Edge.

O’Neal stepped back, and witnesses heard him say he wanted to leave. Investigators say they have evidence showing that O’Neal then tried to leave the fight and return to his Hyundai Genesis.

DeLustro’s wife had reportedly tried to physically restrain O’Neal during the fight and stop him from getting into his vehicle to leave.

A witness who was holding DeLustro allegedly heard the off-duty officer say that he would shoot O’Neal if he left.

DeLustro managed to break free from the witness who was holding him and grab his gun. DeLustro, armed with the gun, approached O’Neal’s vehicle, according to the report. DeLustro then opened the passenger side door and got into the vehicle. O’Neal told DeLustro to “get out of my car” as he started to drive away. DeLustro, who was partially seated in the passenger seat, reportedly fired one shot from his gun, which struck and killed O’Neal.

DeLustro told investigators that he was trying to stop O’Neal, who he knew was trying to leave. He said he did not see O’Neal with any weapon and O’Neal had not threatened to use a weapon.

“A reasonable person could not have reasonably believed that the victim posed a threat of imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to others because the victim was unarmed, walked away from the altercation and attempted to leave in his vehicle,” SLED said in the report.

The report goes on to say that DeLustro “recklessly put himself in danger when he entered the victim’s vehicle armed with a handgun.”

O’Neal’s cousin and sister-in-law are managing a GoFundMe benefitting O’Neal’s parents.

“Michael’s family is respectfully waiting for SLED to perform a thorough investigation, which takes time,” the organizers said in the GoFundMe description. “Michael’s father was an officer with Winston-Salem police for over 30 years. This is a family that has a great deal of respect for law enforcement in general, yet is fully aware that no profession is free of bad actors. We remain optimistic that the SLED detectives will find the truth and bring about justice.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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