Mayor issues statement on fatal Romney Street shooting

Published: Jun. 23, 2014 at 9:15 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley issued a statement Monday afternoon about the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man on Friday night.

Denzel "Jaba" Curnell died of a single gunshot wound to the head. A police officer on the scene immediately called the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the situation, an action Police Chief Greg Mullen calls the right decision, but one that has also led to rumors and speculation about the incident.

Riley's statement reads:

My heart goes out to the family of Denzel Curnell. It is so very sad to have a young life ended. Denzel and his family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers. Chief Mullen immediately informed me of Denzel's death and the circumstances. We are, as usual, in constant communication. Because the City police officer was at the scene, normal protocol requires that this matter be investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division ("SLED"). They are in control of the investigation. It is not appropriate for the City to present the complete details until SLED's investigation is concluded. I am completely confident that the results of the SLED investigation will conclude that the City of Charleston police officer's actions were proper in all circumstances.

As soon as the SLED investigation is completed, it will then be appropriate for Chief Mullen and the appropriate members of our splendid police department to fully comment on what occurred.

Chief Mullen held a press conference Monday afternoon just before the release of Riley's statement to address some of the rumors his department has heard from members of the community. He repeated an earlier statement from Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten confirming that Curnell died of a single gunshot wound to the head, not to the back as some have speculated. Mullen also said there is no evidence that the police officer on the scene fired his weapon, but added that Curnell was armed at the time of the incident.

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