DA: Shooting death ‘justified’
JD News: A Camp Lejeune Marine who shot and killed a nude intruder last month will not face prosecution, District Attorney Ernie Lee said Friday. David Darling, 22, was killed April 8. He was shot immediately after jumping through a window at 111 Fieldcrest Drive.
Lee said he hopes this case and one the same week in Onslow County in which two intruders were killed by residents will give someone pause before breaking into or burglarizing a residence. “I hope it does serve as a deterrent,” he said. “You are putting your own life at risk. I would hope that anyone thinks before they act.”
Darling was naked while walking up and down Fieldcrest Drive shouting that he was high and on a bad trip. He was shouting “I will not kill myself for her.” Darling, a civilian, was married to a Camp Lejeune Marine, but never identified to whom he was referring, Lee said. Darling began running up and down the road, almost being hit by a car.
A witness told investigators that Darling shouted “this is the worst trip of my life.” The witness said Darling was acting aggressive and ran to 111 Fieldcrest when residents turned on the porch light. The Marine resident’s wife opened the front door to find Darling standing there naked and talking about a lighter and a cigarette. Lee said the Marine resident’s wife was very concerned for her two toddler children who were asleep in their bedrooms.
Darling charged at her and the Marine resident’s wife shut and locked the door. The residents called 911. Darling began yelling for the Marine resident to let him in the house. The Marine resident went to his bedroom and returned to the living room with his pistol. Darling was ramming the front door with his shoulder. The Marine resident told Darling to leave, and that he had a gun.
“Darling responded by saying he wanted a gun too,” Lee said. “The male resident walked near the window by the front door and attempted to talk to Darling. Darling then punched the screen out of the window by the front door and then quickly thereafter jumped, diving head first through the screened portion of the window into the living room.”
The Marine resident used a 1911 .45-caliber handgun to shoot Darling three times in the back as Darling dove through the window, Lee said. The Marine resident then tried to render aid to Darling, but Darling was dead.
“Based upon my review of the facts of this case, the occupants of the residence were justified in using deadly force against Darling because the actions of Darling caused the occupants to reasonably believe it necessary to use deadly force to protect their lives,” Lee said.
Darling’s family told The Daily News that he was a kind person and his apparent behavior the night he died was not like him. “Nobody down there knows him. They read a story like that and assume the worst,” said Darling’s aunt, Monica Sawyer-Stevens. “David was a good person. He’s not a thief. He wouldn’t intentionally hurt someone.”
Darling wouldn’t intentionally hurt someone? How does one know what someone might do when on a “bad trip”? Tragic for Darling’s family. Happy ending for the Marine’s.