Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police accountability and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
On Thursday, the Sacramento County Sherriff’s Office released dashcam footage and witness statements from a 2017 attack on a deputy that left 32-year-old Mikel McIntyre dead.
On May 8, 2017, just before 7 p.m., deputies responded to a 911 call about a man chocking a woman as he tried to pull her out of a vehicle.
When they arrived at the scene, deputies found McIntyre and his mother, Brigett, who’d been out shopping before witnesses saw him attack his mother in the parking lot of a department store.
This was the second 911 call about McIntyre that day, as EMS had responded to the same address after a call came in about an emotionally disturbed individual.
That day, Brigett had tried to have her son placed on involuntary psychiatric hold twice, but deputies and medical personnel told her that he did not meet the criteria for such action.
According to the inspector general’s report, the family used pepper spray to keep McIntyre away from them, but then he went shopping with his mom later in the day.
A witness stated that he saw “a white cop and a black male struggling by the fence” after the first deputy arrived on the scene.
“I could tell the officer was trying to arrest the guy and he said ‘Get down!’ but the guy didn’t comply,” the witness recalled. “The black guy kind of broke free and then picked up a big rock or piece of concrete and hit the officer in the head and chest with it.”
McIntyre struck Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Wright, the first deputy to arrive on the scene, in the head with a river rock the size of a football.
“The rock was about the size of a football. The officer fell down and the black guy started running [south],” the witness said. “I think the officer fired two shots at the black guy but I don’t think he hit him because he didn’t even break stride.”
The witness then stopped his vehicle to help, “thinking that the deputy may need assistance.”
“I have my California Concealed Weapons permit so I thought I would help the deputy if he needed me to,” he said.
He then saw the deputy chase McIntyre and later heard two gunshots. When he caught up with the deputy, Wright’s head was bleeding badly and he was down on one knee.
“The deputy was bleeding heavily from the head injury,” the witness said. “The deputy asked me to assist him by retrieving towels from a nearby business.”
He ran into Hooters and got towels.
“I was close enough to where the deputy was that I heard the deputy say ‘oh my god’ after being struck with the rock,” a second witness told investigators.
“I noticed that the deputy was covered in blood and was disoriented,” the witness added, saying that he heard Deputy Wright yell at the “angry” and “aggressive” suspect to “stop running” three times before he fired.
Deputy Wright stated that when he was hit with the enormous rock, “immediately things went very quiet.”
“… At that point I just kept telling myself, you got to get up, you got to get up, you got to get up, you don’t know where he is, you got to get up you are not going to lay here and die,” he told internal affairs investigators.
He revealed that he lost sight of McIntyre because he was bleeding profusely from his head injury.
Other deputies chased after McIntyre at that point.
Sacramento County Deputy Gabriel Rodriguez stated that he shot at McIntyre from 25 to 40 feet away after he lobbed a rock at another deputy.
Rodriguez stated that he believed McIntyre was “a danger to both law enforcement and the public” because of the attacks on his mother and Deputy Wright.
“I think that we would have had a situation where somebody else was gonna get injured,” he added.
The second rock had been hurled at Sacramento County Deputy Ken Becker, who said that it looked “like it was coming right at my head.”
“I thought he was trying to kill me,” stated Deputy Becker.
Becker also fired at McIntyre, telling investigators that he shot at the fleeing suspect because he was afraid McIntyre was going to hurt more people.
He said: “It was just complete disregard for anybody’s safety. This isn’t going to stop unless he gets stopped.”
28 rounds were shot at McIntyre as he fled, and he was struck seven times.
Dashcam video showed McIntyre running down the side of a highway overpass on the right side of the screen. He appeared to throw something as he ran down the hill to the side of the highway.
Gunshots are heard in the video, but McIntyre didn’t seem hit initially as he kept fleeing at full speed.
The dashcam videos from multiple police and sheriff’s deputies’ vehicles show that a police K9 was released to stop McIntyre after he failed to stop and comply with commands.
The K9 took McIntyre to the ground as multiple deputies converged on him.
The K9 handler disengaged the dog from the suspect as six other deputies and officers struggled to handcuff McIntyre, who kept resisting arrest.
He was then transported to University of California Davis Medical Center. He died at the hospital.
McIntyre was shot in the back, the right arm, the left forearm, the right thigh, the left thigh, the head, and the left hand before he was ultimately stopped by the police K9.
Speaking to investigators, Brigett stated that her son had been “severely depressed and stressed lately but I don’t know why.”
In addition to the dashcam footages released on May 28, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones released the files from the internal affairs investigation into the incident.
The investigation concluded that the shooting was “appropriate, justified and within policy.”
Sources: The Police Tribune