Off-Duty South Carolina Cop Charged with Murder After Shooting Unarmed Man Outside Chick-fil-A

A Summerville, South Carolina police officer with ties to the New York Police Department has been charged with murder in connection to the fatal shooting of an unarmed man outside a Chick-fil-A. Anthony DeLustro, a 64-year-old officer, allegedly shot and killed 39-year-old Michael O’Neal on March 20 following a dispute that escalated in the restaurant parking lot.

Initially claiming self-defense, DeLustro stated that he feared for the safety of the community and his wife. However, evidence collected by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) contradicted his claims, leading to the murder charge. Witnesses and video footage suggest that DeLustro was the main aggressor and used excessive force when he fatally shot O’Neal.

The altercation between the two men reportedly began with a verbal exchange that turned physical, with DeLustro using a homophobic slur towards O’Neal. Despite O’Neal’s attempts to disengage and leave the scene, DeLustro prevented him from doing so, even going as far as entering O’Neal’s vehicle and fatally shooting him.

Following the shooting, DeLustro was placed on administrative leave by the Summerville Police Department and the investigation was handed over to SLED. The department ultimately decided to terminate DeLustro’s employment after the murder charge was filed against him.

O’Neal’s family has set up a fundraiser to cover funeral expenses, describing his death as untimely and violent. DeLustro, who had a history of complaints during his time with the NYPD, now faces serious consequences for his actions in South Carolina. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, with SLED continuing to gather evidence and interview witnesses.

This tragic incident has brought sorrow to both the victim’s and the accused officer’s families, underscoring the need for accountability and justice in cases of police misconduct.