Off-Duty Cop Allegedly Shot and Killed Unarmed Man in Chick-fil-A Parking Lot Following Fight: Police

After a fistfight ensued between off-duty South Carolina police officer Anthony DeLustro and Michael P. O’Neal, DeLustro allegedly shot and killed O’Neal

<p>Berkeley County South Carolina Sheriff

Berkeley County South Carolina Sheriff's Office; GoFundMe

Anthony DeLustro (left); Michael P. O'Neal

An off-duty South Carolina cop is accused of shooting and killing an unarmed man after an altercation in a Chick-fil-A parking lot.

Anthony DeLustro, 64, a Summerville Police Department officer, is charged with murder. Authorities allege he killed 39-year-old Michael P. O’Neal on March 20 after an argument, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

In a warrant reviewed by PEOPLE, authorities say a confrontation between the two began and DeLustro, who was off-duty at the time, stepped out of his vehicle. A witness claims DeLustro was the “primary aggressor,” according to the warrant.

A witness told police that O’Neal was heard asking DeLustro, “Do you want to do this?”

The warrant alleges that DeLustro responded by saying, “Come on,” and calling O’Neal a homophobic slur.

<p>GoFundMe</p> Michael P. O'Neal


Michael P. O'Neal

Two threw punches and kicks as bystanders tried to separate them, according to the complaint, before DeLustro allegedly told O’Neal that he was under arrest and presented his police credentials.

In the warrant, authorities claim O’Neal disengaged and attempted to leave by walking toward his vehicle. Authorities allege that DeLustro then broke free from a bystander who had been holding him back and threatened to kill O’Neal if he left before picking up his gun, which had fallen on the ground during the fight. DeLustro’s wife attempted to restrain O’Neal during the altercation, authorities allege.

<p>Berkeley County South Carolina Sheriff's Office</p> Anthony DeLustro

Berkeley County South Carolina Sheriff's Office

Anthony DeLustro

After O’Neal got in his car, authorities allege DeLustro then entered on the passenger side of his car and was partially seated when O'Neal began driving, then DeLustro allegedly shot and killed O’Neal, according to the warrant.

Authorities further allege that when interviewed after the incident, DeLustro said he had intended to stop O’Neal from leaving the scene.

Records indicate that before becoming a police officer in South Carolina, he worked for the New York City Police Department.

It is not immediately clear if DeLustro has entered a plea. WCSC reported that he appeared in court on April 10 and made a statement.

“I dedicated my life to public service since I was age 21,” he reportedly said. “I was at Ground Zero, got cancer, had my cancer removed.”

He noted in the statement that his and his wife’s daughter died in 2021.

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“We took custody for our two granddaughters ages 13 and 10,” the reported statement continued. “We’ve been raising them and sending them to Catholic school and trying to provide a good life for them. Any mercy you can show me or I could be with them and help them get through this, I would appreciate. My entire life was public service. I never did anything wrong, I never had one substantiated complaint in the 35 years I’ve been in law enforcement, and I just ask you for mercy so I can help my wife with the girls while we go through this.”

O’Neal’s family has since started a GoFundMe, which has raised over $25,000. According to the fundraiser description, O’Neal is the son of a police officer.

“Let's rally together to support Michael's family in every way we can, remembering Michael with love, laughter and unity,” the organizer wrote. “Every contribution brings solace and strength.”

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