CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a man in his front yard could have used pepper spray or a stun gun and didn't need deadly force to subdue him, the man's stepfather said Thursday.
Daryl Carpenter is disputing the official report from the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office. He said he has yet to hear from the sheriff's office, and he's gotten angrier as time has progressed.
"I don't know if he had plans to shoot him when he got here, but he shot my son for no reason," Carpenter said. "He had plenty of time. He could've switched to a Taser. He could have used pepper spray."
Carpenter said his account was based on talking to family members as well as a passing motorist who witnessed the shooting.
Officials from the sheriff's office didn't immediately return voice mails and emails.
The initial statement from the sheriff's office said Deputy Scott Trammel shot and killed 24-year-old Pedro Cruz-Amado in the front yard of his home after Cruz-Amado hit Trammel twice with metal chairs. The second time, the sheriff's office said Trammel was hit in the head.
Carpenter, who had been in Charleston, South Carolina, for his job, received a phone call about the shooting and made the four-hour drive back to his home in the town of Lawndale, about 55 miles northwest of Charlotte. He said he had planned to move his family to Charleston and was preparing his house in Lawndale to be sold.
Carpenter said his stepson, who is a native of Brazil, had been battling depression. He had just told his mother that the previous two days had been the best he had experienced in years.
"He had an episode and we were trying to get him a little help," Carpenter said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff's office received a 911 call from Carpenter's daughter after Cruz-Amado began exhibiting physical symptoms of his depression. An ambulance arrived first, but he said emergency personnel waited for the sheriff's deputy. He said the EMS workers watched the entire incident and only checked on his son after he had been fatally wounded.
"He tossed a chair at the officer, but not hard enough to hurt him. He batted it away with his hand and it fell to the side."
Carpenter said family members told him that Cruz-Amado was walking back to the porch to get another chair and was approaching Trammel when he was shot. He said Trammel shot his stepson three times, then rolled the body over and handcuffed him and placed the chair next to the body.
"He didn't even look," Carpenter said. "He just pulled that gun out and started shooting. My son wasn't even close to him."
Following the shooting, Trammel was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for officer shootings. The State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the shooting.
Sheriff Alan Norman said in the statement that Trammel didn't violate any policies or procedures. Carpenter said the family is taking it very hard.
"It's just tearing us apart," Carpenter said.