Teen's mom: Son didn't have gun when Fayetteville officer fired
Posted October 14, 2013
Fayetteville, N.C. — The mother of a 16-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Fayetteville police officer is disputing authorities' claims that her son had a gun.
Shaqur McNair died at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center Sunday after Officer Christopher Hunt fired at the teen while responding to a domestic disturbance call on Bertram Place sometime after 6 p.m.
Police Chief Harold Medlock told reporters Sunday that Hunt was trying to take McNair's mother, Africka Bennett, into custody after she hit him on the head.
The two were struggling on the ground when McNair ignored Hunt's commands to back away and pulled up his shirt and began to draw the handgun from his waistband, Medlock said.
Hunt fired at least three rounds.
Even though police said Monday that evidence suggests a stolen 9mm Hi-Point semi-automatic handgun at the scene was in McNair's possession at the time of the shooting, Bennett said her son was unarmed and that Hunt shot without warning.
"My son was shot three times for no reason. He didn't have (a) weapon. He wasn't (a) threat," she said. "The officer said not one thing. My son was not a threat. He just shot him, and my son rolled over and said, 'Momma, he shot me, and I did nothing wrong.'"
A police spokesman declined to comment Monday on Bennett's claims, referring only to Medlock's account of events that he gave Sunday night.
"My son was a good kid – very athletic, very smart," said Bennett. "He was well-known for his smile, his friendliness."
McNair was a junior at Westover High School in Fayetteville, where he was well-known, played basketball and had never before been in trouble, she said.
Westover principal Thomas Benson said McNair was a pleasant student who made decent grades and that the two of them met a couple weeks ago.
"We just had a brief conversation about what we need to try to keep him encouraged with his academics," Benson said.
Medlock said Sunday that Hunt was the first officer to respond to 201 Bertram Place in Fayetteville's Loch Lomond subdivision, where a crowd of about 12 to 15 people had gathered in the street.
While waiting for other officers to arrive, Hunt arrested Bennett's other son after observing injuries to a woman related to the call.
It was during that arrest that Bennett approached Hunt, struck him on the head and tried to take away her son, Medlock said.
Bennett, 39, was taken into custody just before the shooting and charged with assault on a government official.
She denies striking Hunt.
"I just snatched away. I did not hit him, as they say I did," she said.
She added that she plans to take action against the police department, although she would not say what kind.
"These robot cops think, just because they wear a badge, that they can treat people any kind of way – I’m not going to have it," Bennett said.
The State Bureau of Investigation is handling the shooting case – standard in officer-involved shootings – and Hunt has been placed on administrative duty.
Medlock said Hunt violated no policy by responding to the call alone but that he directed officers Sunday evening to begin waiting for a second officer before going into a domestic dispute.
Hunt had been close when the call came in, Medlock said, and he thought his backup was close when he responded.
"Quite frankly, I don't like for my cops to show up on any domestic call by themselves," Medlock said. "For a domestic, you always know there are at least two people involved. If one officer shows up, we're automatically behind the game, and that certainly was the case tonight."