Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have released body camera video of an officer-involved shooting at an east Charlotte apartment complex in December 2021.
Police officers were initially called to the Woodland Estates Apartments on Winged Elm Court, off Albemarle Road, because someone found a suspect breaking into their car. The caller also said the suspect had pointed a gun at someone, CMPD said.
The first officer at the scene started chasing the 14-year-old suspect when he ran away. Officer Elliot Whitley then arrived and caught up to the teen, when the suspect turned and fired a shot, hitting Whitley, authorities said.
CMPD has not identified the teenager at this point.
The body camera video shows the tense moments leading up to the shooting. In the video, Whitley can be seen running after the teen through an apartment complex. The teen then pulls out a gun and shoots the officer.
The suspect can be seen running away as Whitley fires more than a dozen times at him. The teen was not hurt.
>> In the interest of transparency, the body camera video can be viewed in the video at the top of the page. Viewer discretion is advised.
CMPD said another officer arrested the 14-year-old and found a gun on him. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
According to police, Whitley, a 10-year CMPD officer, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities said he was shot in the shoulder. He did recover, but the bullet was never removed from him.
Dan Redford, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, said this incident was a prime example of the dangers police face, but he’s more troubled by the circumstances.
“The shows you just how quick things escalate,” he said. “Why this 14-year-old has a gun in the first place is beyond me. Why he tried to kill a cop this day, those are the questions that I think need to be asked.”
Anti-violence activist Lucille Puckett agrees. While watching the body camera video, she said the teen’s actions are wrong, but she believes the entire situation could have been handled differently.
“I’m still, like, in awe because the officer gets out and starts cussing. It’s not a form of de-escalation,” she said. “It didn’t seem like the teen had any intention at the beginning of shooting at this officer. His intention was to flee, to get away.”
Redford disagrees, saying that shouldn’t be the focus, pointing out in the video that the teen shot the officer first.
“This officer could have been murdered, and people are more concerned about what the officer said, not what this juvenile did,” Redford said.
Puckett was also concerned about the number of shots fired toward the suspect.
CMPD said an internal investigation found Whitley’s actions were justified.
(WATCH BELOW: Police: CMPD officer shot by 14-year-old also accused of breaking into car in east Charlotte)