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Summerville Police officer Anthony DeLustro charged with murder for shooting Michael O’Neal at South Carolina Chick-fil-A

DeLustro was “the primary aggressor” and allegedly killed O’Neal as he attempted to leave after the pair got into a physical fight.



On Wednesday, an off-duty officer from South Carolina, who initially served with the NYPD, was charged with murder. Allegedly, he shot and killed an unarmed man outside a Chick-fil-A.

Anthony DeLustro, a Summerville Police Department officer, is accused of entering the car of 39-year-old Michael O’Neal and fatally shooting him on March 20.

This incident occurred as O’Neal attempted to escape following a dispute with the off-duty officer. DeLustro, aged 64, initially claimed self-defense, stating concerns for community safety and his wife’s well-being.

However, eyewitness testimonies and video evidence gathered by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) suggest that the officer “intentionally killed the victim.” This information is detailed in an affidavit provided by the state agency.

According to the document, multiple witnesses informed investigators that DeLustro appeared to be the main instigator and purportedly fatally shot O’Neal as he tried to depart following a physical altercation in the fast-food restaurant’s parking lot.

The exact cause of the altercation remains unclear, but both individuals exited their vehicles, and O’Neal repeatedly asked the off-duty officer, “Are you ready for this?” as recounted by one witness to SLED. DeLustro responded with a homophobic slur: “Let’s go, you f–king f—-t,” as reported by the witness.

During the altercation, the men engaged in a physical fight while onlookers attempted to intervene. As they traded blows, DeLustro reportedly brandished his Summerville police credentials and informed O’Neal that he was placing him under arrest, as stated in the affidavit.

Additionally, the document notes that the officer’s department-issued handgun fell from its holster onto the ground during the scuffle. According to a witness, at a certain point, O’Neal, whose father served as an officer with the Winston-Salem police for over three decades, expressed a desire to disengage and leave. He then withdrew from the altercation and returned to his vehicle in an attempt to depart.

However, according to a bystander who was restraining the officer, DeLustro shouted a threat to shoot O’Neal if he attempted to leave, while the officer’s wife attempted to physically prevent O’Neal from departing.

DeLustro managed to break free from the bystander’s grasp, retrieved his handgun from the ground, and entered the passenger seat of O’Neal’s Hyundai Genesis while still armed. Despite O’Neal’s protests for DeLustro to exit the vehicle, the officer remained in place with the passenger side door ajar. As O’Neal began to drive away, DeLustro allegedly discharged a single shot from the passenger seat, striking O’Neal and resulting in his death before paramedics could arrive, as outlined in the affidavit.

According to the document, the officer confessed to SLED investigators that he did not witness the victim carrying any weapon nor did he make any threats involving a weapon. He claimed his intention was to prevent O’Neal from leaving. However, the special agent asserted that DeLustro resumed the confrontation with a deadly weapon after the physical altercation had ceased, characterizing this action as “reckless” behavior.

This behavior, the agent argued, granted O’Neal the right to defend himself, rather than attributing aggression to the enraged officer. Following his murder charge, the Summerville Police Department terminated DeLustro’s employment.

DeLustro initiated his law enforcement career with the NYPD and subsequently served in various police, sheriff, and campus security roles across South Carolina throughout the years. Between 1980 and 2003, during his tenure with the NYPD, online records indicate he faced three public complaints of misconduct.

Of these, two complaints involved alleged use of force, both of which were dismissed by the Civilian Complaint Review Board due to lack of evidence. The investigation into the third complaint, related to abuse of authority for an unnecessary traffic stop, was left incomplete as DeLustro departed the NYPD in the same year to relocate to South Carolina.

Upon his move, DeLustro’s initial position in the state was as a security officer at Trident Technical College, where his employer noted occasional issues with his temper, although formal complaints from the public were rare. Presently, SLED’s investigation into the recent incident remains ongoing.