The Salisbury Police Department Police Chief Jerry Stokes has released the following statement regarding the shooting response and investigation at Thelma’s Down Home Cooking, 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd., where six victims were shot at approximately 12:05 a.m. on Sunday, January 26, 2020, following a party.
Chief Stokes said, “Our officers’ response to the shooting at Thelma’s Restaurant was done with the utmost courage and restraint. Rather than running in and confronting the shooter or shooters with uncontrolled use of force in a crowded area that could have harmed innocent people, the officers entered and began to manage the quick escape of those attending the event, and located and assisted the victims. The officers’ actions were both heroic and compassionate, showing no regard for their own personal safety. It was the officers’ quick transport of the most seriously wounded victim that likely saved his life. Their quick presence may have also limited the number of injuries and avoided anyone losing their life in this tragic situation. We remain concerned for the victims, their families, and the entire community. I expect detectives to identify the suspect or suspects and bring appropriate charges for those responsible.”
“As Chief of this department, I work to ensure we are both responsive to the public’s concerns and that we are transparent in our operations. After some concern expressed by members of our community, I have tasked our Professional Standards Unit to debrief how we responded to the situation at Thelma’s Restaurant before, during, and after to ensure we operated within our standard procedures and policies. We will debrief whether our lines of communication are clear regarding information dissemination and if there are any areas where we can improve or alter. Our agency is Nationally Accredited under the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and has a range of standards we must meet to receive our accreditation. It is important for us to take opportunities to review our response to a situation such as this to ensure we are meeting those standards.”