A man shot by a Raleigh police officer Sunday was holding an “Airsoft gun” with its orange safety tip removed, according to a preliminary report Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown released Friday.
An Airsoft gun is a replica gun used in sports and training and can be designed to look like a real gun, according to Internet sources. They use compressed air to shoot plastic pellets.
Officer C.T. Melochick was the first law enforcement officer to arrive at the Quail Ridge Apartments complex, according to the report.
When Melochick encountered the man, Michael Anthony Hendricks Jr., he gave him several orders to “drop his weapon,” according to the report. When Hendricks continued to point his weapon, Melochick fired once, striking him in the abdomen, the report says.
Melochick was wearing a body camera, which was turned on and recording, according to the report. The dash camera in his cruiser also captured part of the incident. A dash camera in another patrol car recorded it, too.
Melochick has been placed on administrative duty while the incident is being investigated by the department and the State Bureau of Investigation, which is standard procedure.
A 911 caller that day reporting an emergency at Quail Ridge Apartments, telling dispatchers: “There’s a man in the corridor with a knife. He’s a vet. He’s having a flashback.” The report says the Police Department has been unable to confirm whether Hendricks served in the military.
Raleigh firefighters arrived first and when they approached Hendricks, he told them “if they did not back off, he would attack,” the report said. The firefighters pulled back and requested police backup.
When Melochick arrived, he spoke with Hendricks’ roommate. As they talked, Hendricks, 40, came around the building where they were standing.
Hendricks had a “gun raised at shoulder level and pointed at Officer Melochick,” the report says. They took cover behind a vehicle and Melochick ordered Hendricks multiple times to drop his weapon.
When Hendricks refused, Melochick fired his weapon, the report says.
Melochick then took Hendricks into custody and called for EMS personnel to administer first aid. Hendricks was then taken to WakeMed, the report says.
Law enforcement shootings
Sunday’s non-fatal shooting was the second shooting by Raleigh police in a month.
On April 20, Soheil Mojarrad, 30, was shot and killed in a shopping center in East Raleigh after police say he advanced on an officer with a knife, The News & Observer reported. Mojarrad had mental illness that was compounded by a traumatic brain injury, his mother said.
The officer who shot Mojarrad didn’t turn on his body camera before the shooting, police said, which renewed calls for a citizen-led police oversight board with the power to investigate and compel witness testimony.
This week, Deck-Brown said she did not support such a board, which would require legislative approval to subpoena witnesses.
In Johnston County, a man was shot April 4 by a State Highway Patrolman after he reached for BB pistol that had the “physical characteristics similar to a Glock with no orange tip,” according to an investigative report.
District Attorney Susan Doyle announced Friday she will not pursue charges against the trooper, who had made the traffic stop and shot the suspect three times when he reached for the gun. The suspect survived.