Story update: Man shoots daughter's assailant
A Thomasville man will not be charged with murder after an investigation found a fatal shooting last month was justified.
Thomasville Police Department responded to 211 Pine St. on Jan. 19 at 10:38 p.m. in reference to a person being shot. Officers arrived and found 38-year-old David Rayvon Braswell dead from a gunshot wound. According to a press release, Braswell was physically assaulting his girlfriend, Tamara Renee Smith, 33, of the same address, when Clifton Gregory Dennis, 56, shot him with a .22 caliber rifle. Dennis, who is Smith's father and considered a person of interest in the shooting, was arrested at the scene and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
"Mr. Braswell was in the act of assaulting Ms. Smith at the time Mr. Dennis encountered and shot him," Detective Steve Currie said. "There was a physical altercation going on between the two of them when [Dennis] entered the room. That's why he came in . He brought the rifle with him."
Following an investigation, TPD detectives, in cooperation with the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, found that Dennis' actions were justified as self-defense or the defense of others.
"We collected all the evidence that was available and spoke to all the witnesses who were present immediately before, during and after the incident on Pine Street," said Currie. "Based upon the information from the witnesses and the evidence we were able to collect at the scene, the District Attorney's office was able to interpret that under North Carolina law that [Dennis] was justified.
"There was a lot of stuff going on and obviously it's a very serious case. We wanted to be sure we gave every opportunity for anybody who might know anything to present themselves. We looked at every aspect of the case."
Dennis, who has a criminal history dating back to 1977, still will be charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. He currently is being held in the Davidson County Jail and was issued a $50,000 secured bond. Dennis is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 8.
"[Dennis did not come into the firearm that night," Currie said. "He had had that firearm for a significant amount of time. He knew better."
Currie said Braswell and Smith, who have four children together, had a history of domestic violence. Currie said Braswell previously was arrested for assaulting Smith. Braswell, Smith, Dennis and the couple's children all lived together at the Pine Street home. The children were home at the time of the shooting. Currie said police contacted the Department of Social Services.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.