Local News

Officer testifies to battle for gun during Durham traffic stop

Posted August 4, 2015 3:41 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2015 6:28 p.m. EDT

— For about four hours Tuesday, Durham police Officer Kelly Stewart relived the confrontation with a man accused of shooting him during a December 2012 traffic stop.

Using his gun as a prop, Stewart took jurors step-by-step through the moments before and after he was shot in the leg while on duty.

"We're fighting over the gun, fighting over the gun. I tried to bring it closer and we're fighting, fighting, fighting," Stewart told the court. "The gun discharged, and I received a gunshot wound to my right thigh."

Carlos Riley Jr. is being tried on charges of reckless driving, assault on a law enforcement officer causing serious injury, robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm.

Stewart was the first witness called by the prosecution. He vividly described his fear, pain and panic after the gun went off.

"Mr. Riley still had a gun pointed at me," Stewart said. "I'm still telling him anything he wants to hear. 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please don't shoot me again.'"

Riley's defense attorney, Alex Charns, is arguing that Stewart shot himself in the course of the struggle. Stewart said that while he pulled his weapon, his finger was never on the trigger.

"I had both hands on the firearm," Stewart said. "I had my index finger on the frame."

In cross-examining Stewart, Charns challenged his actions before and after the shooting.

"You were operating off the books," he told Stewart. "You didn't radio in the traffic stop. You didn't fill out a report on the traffic stop."

"I was in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound," Stewart countered.