News & Politics

Incoming Police Chief Shoots Woman—Intended Target: Dog

Then he "backed away" and made a phone call instead of helping her, says victim.

Photo Credit: WGHP-TV

A North Carolina police officer accidentally shot a woman in the thigh, missing his intended target, a dog, the Winston-Salem Police Dept. said in a news release.

Assistant Chief Barry Rountree, who is tapped to become police chief, shot Tamara Whitt while responding to a dangerous weapon call Wednesday. Whitt says she followed her boxer “Lebrone” as he walked down the driveway towards Rountree and another officer. According to the news release, Lebrone ran after the officers in an “aggressive manner” before Rountree fired at the canine and missed. The bullet ricocheted off the pavement and struck Whitt in the thigh.

“The dog was closer to me than the officer, that’s where this whole thing is just out of hand,” Whitt told WGHP-TV, questioning the logic of Rountree firing his weapon with her so close. “I wasn’t expecting the gun to be fired because I was right there.” 

While Whitt isn’t thrilled about the 40-caliber bullet still lodged in her thigh, she’s most upset about Rountree’s actions immediately following the shooting. Rather than rushing to help the citizen he just wounded, Winston-Salem’s incoming police chief’s first instinct was to reach for his cell phone.

“He did not come to me. He backed away,” Whitt told WGHP-TV. “He just backed up and I saw the cell phone come out.”

Winston-Salem Police put Rountree on administrative duty while they conduct an investigation. However, his swearing-in is still scheduled for Sunday.

“I just hope that (they) do a good investigation and really see if he really deserves to be our police [chief] because I honestly thought that was a rookie mistake,” Whitt said.

See WGHP-TV's report:

h/t Raw Story

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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