Local News

'It's terrifying because I thought I was going to be shot,' says eyewitness to shooting at Fayetteville hospital

Posted November 6, 2019 6:34 p.m. EST
Updated November 6, 2019 11:37 p.m. EST

— A patient who had a front-row seat for a scuffle between a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy and a man in his custody that ended with both being shot, one fatally, spoke out about the panic and mayhem that resulted when bullets started flying.

The woman, whom WRAL News is not identifying for safety reasons, said she didn't think she would get out of the hospital alive.

"They were shooting, (and) there was no way we were going to get out while they're tussling," she said. "And I see the gun pointed towards me. It's terrifying because I thought I was going to be shot, and there's no way I can get out. I can't run anywhere and there's shots ringing out!"

She sought medical care after experiencing an allergic reaction and was assigned to a room at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Authorities said shortly before 8:30 a.m., the deputy, whose identity has not been publicly released, and the suspect, identified as Treva Smutherman, 31, got into a "scuffle," and Smutherman tried to grab the officer's gun.

During the altercation, the deputy was shot by Smutherman, who was turn fatally shot by a Fayetteville police officer who was at the medical center during another investigation, authorities said.

The deputy is expected to recover from the incident.

No hospital staff or medical personnel were injured during the incident, said Daniel Weatherly, chief operations officer of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, during a news conference outside the hospital shortly after the incident.

Smutherman had asked to use the bathroom, and his handcuffs were taken off while doing so, the woman said.

She said when the deputy tried to put the handcuffs back on is when the scuffle began.

"I started recording when he said he wasn't going to put the handcuffs on," she said. "I started recording just so I could get the audio. I didn't know they were going to end up in my room."

The woman interviewed by WRAL News began recording the frantic fight, and two minutes of it was posted to her Facebook page.

"I'm terrified so I jump off the bed," she said. "I didn't even know my phone was still recording. I jump off the bed and then (I hear) a gun shot (and) they're tussling for the gun and the gun goes off.

"I don't know who's shot or what and by that time a nurse had tackled me to the ground and that's when my phone fell," she said.

The video footage fades to black but it did capture five gunshots that sounded during the fight.

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