State investigators working on police-wheelchair shooting
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- Investigators from the Delaware attorney general's office talked to potential witnesses and examined the scene Friday where police fatally shot a man in a wheelchair.
Officers shot Jeremy McDole, 28, of Wilmington, on Wednesday. Police said they responded to a 911 call about a man who had shot himself and had a handgun. Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings said Thursday that McDole, who was paralyzed in a shooting 10 years ago, did not obey commands to show his hands and refused to put his weapon down, and that he was shot as he began to remove the gun from his waist.
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Police said they recovered a .38 caliber handgun next to McDole's body.
Cummings said he did not know if McDole pointed the gun at any of the four officers, "but when he went to remove the weapon, they engaged him."
The shooting is being investigated by the police department's criminal investigation and professional standards units, as well as the Delaware Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust, which will determine whether any officers will be charged. The state agency investigates all police shootings that result in injury or death, and it had staff in the neighborhood Friday as part of the probe.
See photos of the scene afterwards:
Richard Smith, head of the Delaware chapter of the NAACP, said he did not trust the state Justice Department to conduct a fair and impartial investigation and called for an independent investigation by a special prosecutor.
"We cannot continue having all our folks being shot and nobody held accountable," Smith said Thursday.
Video of the shooting posted online, which the chief said appeared to be authentic, shows an officer approaching McDole with a gun drawn, shouting "show me your hands" and "drop the gun." Other officers then appear in the video with guns drawn, yelling similar commands. McDole moves around in his wheelchair and reaches into his jeans, but it's unclear what he is doing. The officers, who are not in the video at this point, fire multiple shots, and McDole falls out of his wheelchair.
McDole's mother, Phyllis McDole, decried the shooting as "unjust" during a police news conference. Relatives declined Friday to be interviewed by The Associated Press.
Gov. Jack Markell has met with McDole's family and said in a statement he was grateful to the attorney general's office for its "swift action to review the details of the case."
McDole has an arrest record that dates back at least to 2005, the year he was paralyzed after being shot in the back by an associate with whom he had been walking around a neighborhood, smoking marijuana, according to court documents. He has convictions for drug possession and disorderly conduct. In November, McDole was found to have violated probation.
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO shows police fatally shooting McDole:
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