MOORESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Police say the man they shot and killed outside a Mooresville hospital Wednesday morning first went inside the facility and told staff he was going to kill himself.
Police say when 56-year-old Robert Berry came into Lake Norman Regional Medical Center early Wednesday morning, he had a message for hospital workers.
“He walked in told the people in admitting or whoever you first see when you first go into the hospital, that he was there to kill himself, and he was going to go do it in the parking lot,” said Mooresville Police Chief Ron Campurciani.
Then, investigators say Berry just left, and it’s unclear if he had a gun inside the hospital. But police say at some point, hospital staff told police that a security guard saw Berry put a gun in his pocket.
The hospital called police, and when they got there, Berry was reportedly holding a gun outside of his car.
Campurciani says he reviewed body camera video, and officers told Berry to put down the gun seven or eight times.
At one point, the police chief says Berry dropped the gun, but it doesn’t appear he meant to place it on the ground.
Campurciani says Berry almost immediately squatted down to pick the gun back up, stared at one of officers, sat down against a tree and started messing with the gun, re-arming himself. That’s when a police officer fired five times, hitting and killing Berry.
“We’re armed with a lot of things, you see officers, they have a lot of stuff,” said Campurciani. “What we don’t have is a crystal ball, and we’re all husbands and wives and fathers and we have to go home to. What he was doing, why he re-armed himself, what he was doing with the gun, was he cocking it? Was he getting…? We don’t know, but if we wait then we get hurt.”
The chief says if Berry had not picked the gun back up, everything would have ended peacefully.
“He was clearly in crisis but certainly our 4-minute encounter with him didn’t lend us to be able to make all that diagnosis on what exactly was going on,” said Chief Campurciani.
The officer who shot and killed Berry is on administrative leave, and the State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case, along with Mooresville Police Department, which is performing its own internal investigation.
Lake Norman Regional would only confirm a shooting in the hospital parking lot.
Berry’s stepdaughter tells Queen City News the account of what happened Wednesday morning at the hospital is completely out of character for her stepfather.