ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — One day after a jury cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing, the New Jersey police detective who shot and killed a Maryland man after a road rage incident is speaking publicly for the first time.

Derek Valcourt has the detective’s dramatic words about that deadly night.

He’s telling the public what he told jurors on the witness stand: that concern for the safety of his wife and kids left him with no choice but to pull the trigger.

“Elation. It’s like a 500-pound weight just came off my shoulders,” said Detective Joseph Walker.

Just one day after leaving the Anne Arundel County courthouse with not guilty verdicts, Detective Joseph Walker is back home in New Jersey and answering questions about what he calls the worst day of his life when he killed Maryland native Joseph Harvey.

“I don’t like that this happened. Regardless, he’s somebody’s son, he’s somebody’s friend, somebody loves him,” said Walker.

It was the evening of June 8 when Walker and his family in their minivan mistakenly cut off Harvey’s car. He says Harvey and his passenger became enraged.

“And that’s when this guy out of nowhere just blazes up my passenger side. He’s just going off on my wife and me, yelling the “F” word, the “N” word. ‘I’ll [expletive] kill you,'” Walker said. “He just pulled up right alongside us and kept pushing us over. He just turned his vehicle into ours to the point if I would have kept going straight he would have definitely hit us.”

Forced off the road, he says he thought the ordeal was over. But Harvey got out of his car and began walking toward Walker, who grabbed his gun and his badge. That’s when he says Harvey began charging at him.

“He kept coming. ‘You see the badge?’ Doesn’t even make him pause. Keep coming,” said Walker. “I told him to back off, go about your business. Didn’t care. I had to fire. There’s nothing else.”

As friends congratulate Walker on beating the murder charge, he says he will forever have to live with Joseph Harvey’s death.

The ordeal is far from over for Walker. He’s now facing the possibility of a civil lawsuit from the victim’s family.

Walker’s police union and the National Police Defense Foundation say they will continue to help support Walker with his legal expenses.

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