Sanford Police Officer On Leave Pending Shooting Investigation
Posted January 2, 2003 4:34 a.m. EST
SANFORD, N.C. — Sanford police and the State Bureau of Investigation are looking into a shooting Wednesday night involving a police officer.
According to the police department, Officer R.T. Kendall observed a black Ford Bronco traveling on Dalrymple Street, near Globe Street, without any tail lights.
Kendall attempted to stop the vehicle which, according to police, sped up and turned into a private driveway at the intersection of Globe and Dalrymple.
The vehicle reportedly went back onto Globe Street, heading west. Kendall continued pursuit, following the vehicle west to Buchanan Street, crossing railroad tracks. After reaching a dead end, the driver reportedly turned and attempted to leave the area.
Kendall reportedly got out of his vehicle and attempted to get the vehicle to stop. According to police, the vehicle continued toward Kendall, who drew his weapon and fired at the vehicle.
The driver, Michael Smith, was struck in the arm, leg and stomach by the officer's gunfire.
Authorities did find a shotgun in the vehicle Smith was driving. Smith's father said the vehicle belonged to a friend.
Family members said they are upset over the incident.
"It's ridiculous for him to be shot down like that for whatever the reason was. For him to have been shot by the police, it's just unacceptable because he is still a person," said Ook Smith, Michael's cousin.
Smith is listed in stable condition at Central Carolina Hospital following surgery.
Officer Kendall has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.