Police ID Man Fatally Shot During Salisbury Traffic Stop - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Police ID Man Fatally Shot During Salisbury Traffic Stop

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James L. Norris (Photo credit: Wilmington Police Department) James L. Norris (Photo credit: Wilmington Police Department)
(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- Maryland State Police have identified a Delaware man armed with two handguns who was fatally shot during a Monday traffic stop in Salisbury.

The man has been identified as 25-year-old James L. Norris, whose last known address was on the 400 block of North Franklin Street in Wilmington.

Police said Wilmington police contacted Maryland authorities for help finding Norris, who was wanted on handgun charges.Members of the Maryland State Apprehension Team conducting surveillance of a home in Delmar on Monday saw a man matching Norris' description get in a car headed for Salisbury. At around 4:30 p.m. Monday, a uniformed trooper stopped the car on North Salisbury Boulevard at Philadelphia Avenue. Members of MSAT were also on the scene observing the vehicle's occupants. According to police, when the trooper contacted the female driver, the male passenger, later identified as Norris, was seen holding his face down, apparently trying to avoid being seen by the trooper. 

Police said the preliminary investigation indicates Officer Milton Rodriguez, an 18-year-veteran of the Salisbury Police Department and a member of MSAT, was part of the surveillance team and approached the passenger side of the car.  The officer was wearing identification clearly identifying him as a police officer and was verbally identifying himself as he walked to the passenger side of the car and contacted Norris, investigators said.

Police said the investigation indicates that Rodriguez asked Norris for his name, at which time Norris put both hands in his jacket pockets. Police said the officer ordered Norris not to put his hands in his pockets but he refused and told the officer one of them was going to die. Police said the preliminary investigation indicates the officer was in fear for his safety and pulled his weapon. 

More than one shot was heard by police on the scene.  At this time, investigators are not sure if Norris was wounded by a self-inflicted gunshot or by the police officer.  Police said they found Norris had his hands clenched around revolvers in both jacket pockets.  He was also in possession of suspected cocaine, according to police.  Crime scene technicians continue to collect and process evidence from the scene.  

Witnesses to the scene say after the shots rang out, it was a matter of moments before police flooded the area.  "Police were running all over the place pretty much trying to get the scene shut down.  And after a while, I eventually saw them take a black female out of the car and put her in handcuffs," said Steven Behr of Salisbury.  State police said the woman was not arrested and was released.
Emergency medical personnel were summoned to the scene to treat Norris.  He was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 7:30 p.m.  His body will be taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.  No one else was injured in the incident.   

The Wicomico County State's Attorney and Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan responded to the scene.  Duncan requested the investigation be conducted by the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, which regularly investigates police-involved shootings. 


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