A young North Carolina couple returning from a Father’s Day outing with their infant daughter slowed down for a DUI checkpoint in Brunswick County, N.C., Sunday evening.
That’s when the driver of an SUV nearer the front of the line made an alleged attempt to escape, and seven cops allegedly started shooting.
The couple, Jared and Rose Cleerdin, along with their daughter Chloe were too close for safety (to say nothing of comfort); but at least they came away with an incredible account of how little regard the police evidently showed for the safety of all the motorists and passengers they’d been flagging down.
“Every cop turned around and started unloading like super trigger happy as if their training was coming into full effect and they were being able to utilize it,” said Cleerdin. “Everybody was just blasting this car to pieces. It was absolutely terrifying.”
Cleerdin said he estimated about 40 rounds were fired, with the bullets “ricocheting off the road” in the direction of oncoming traffic, with the officers allegedly demonstrating no regard for public safety — despite the DUI checkpoint’s stated purpose of accomplishing just that.
The SUV’s occupants, Jerry Melvin and Antoine Graham, both survived but were hospitalized. Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram stood behind the officers’ actions at a press conference the following day, saying the SUV looked as though it were going to run over deputies manning the checkpoint.
“Realizing their lives were in danger of being run over by this vehicle, [officers] proceeded to shoot at the vehicle in attempts to stop the vehicle from traveling any further,” he said.
“Another question that always arises is, were officers acting recklessly and without regard for the public safety and I can assure you they were acting with extreme care for the safety of the public and the safety of everyone involved in that checkpoint.”
Not according to the Cleerdin family.
“It was way beyond reckless,” said Jared. “I couldn’t believe it. These are professional people; professional officers, and they’re training, they’re highly trained and they’re not supposed to do stuff like that. I could understand why they wouldn’t come out with an explanation as to what happened after seeing what we saw. It looked like every officer there did not follow protocol in any way, shape, or form.”
Seven deputies from both Brunswick and New Hanover Counties in North Carolina were involved in the shooting, and they’ve been moved to administrative duty while the State Bureau of Investigation reviews their conduct during the shooting.