Mother of Christopher Todd Rumple disputes DA decision, autopsy
By Shavonne Walker
SALISBURY — Patsy Davis is still heartbroken over the death of her son, Christopher Todd Rumple, 48.
Rumple was shot and killed two months ago during what authorities called an apparent drug deal.
Earlier this month, prosecutors cleared two brothers, one of whom they say shot Rumple in self-defense, an outcome Davis disagrees with.
Rumple was shot Dec. 4 at his Kannapolis home at least twice, in the side of the neck and in the chest-abdomen area.
Jai Montreal Winchester, 21, of 1607 Lakewood Drive, and Jahari S. Rustin, 20, of 2113 E. Innes St., were arrested the same day. According to an earlier news release, Winchester was a passenger in a vehicle that Rustin was driving.
Assistant District Attorney Gregory C. Butler said Rumple was in contact with Winchester and Rustin before he was shot. Text messages and statements by the suspects showed that Rumple set up a meeting with them in order to pay them $70 for a previous drug sale.
According to the release, Rumple met Rustin and Winchester at their vehicle on Carter Street shortly after midnight. Rumple was carrying a homemade automatic firearm with a pistol grip and sling. Rustin and Winchester had two guns, one in the glove compartment and one between the seats. According to the release, the gun between the seats was used to shoot Rumple. But authorities said there is no evidence that either weapon was displayed or used by Winchester or Rustin to threaten Rumple prior to the shooting.
During interviews with investigators, Winchester said that Rumple approached the car as if he were going to pay, holding money in one hand. But he then pointed the “big gun” at them and said, “I ought to blow your damn head off,” according to Winchester.
Winchester told investigators he ducked and then heard three shots. He said his brother, Rustin, shot Rumple because Rumple was pointing the gun at them and threatening to kill them. The two then drove off and were stopped within minutes by a China Grove police officer.
Rumple was found on his back with a large homemade automatic firearm with a sling on his right arm and $70 in cash clutched in his left hand. Rumple was shot twice, and a third round appeared to have hit the cartridge of his gun. When he fell, Rumple ended up on his back, facing where the vehicle had been.
Butler said Rustin and Winchester were “justified under the law in using deadly force to defend themselves.”
Davis said she still doesn’t accept the district attorney’s decision, especially since the autopsy report says her sons death was a homicide.
In the six-page autopsy report, the final line reads, “In view of the overall death investigation and postmortem examination findings, the manner of death is classified as homicide.”
Davis said her son was murdered unjustly and she plans to “fight this” by taking it to state legislators. She hopes to make a change to the definition of a self-defense death.
The autopsy report says a bullet struck Rumple near the base of his neck, traveled left to right and slightly back to front. A second bullet struck Rumple in the left side of his chest and abdomen area, traveled downward and slightly left to right. Bullets were recovered from Rumple’s head and abdomen.
He had no alcohol in his system, the report said.
“My heart bleeds for anybody who loses a child no matter how old they were because it hurts,” Davis said.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office had a pending drug case against Christopher Rumple, who went by his middle name. According to law enforcement reports, undercover officers bought black tar heroin in 2015 from Rumple and his son, Zachary.
As to those charges, Davis said, all kids get into trouble.
She said her son was a great grandfather and a good father.
Davis said she just wants her son to be seen as a human being.
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.