GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Body camera footage from a Gaston County officer-involved shooting that happened in early July and was deemed accidental by the District Attorney’s Office was released Friday.
The shooting happened on July 8 on the 400 block of S. Gray Street. Officials said at the time officers were responding to a noise complaint and were looking for Jarvis Lynn - who they said had a pistol - in the area.
According to the DA's Office, Officer Stephen Whisnant called out to Lynn but he ran from the officer toward the back of the house and then inside. Officer Whisnant followed Lynn and saw him go in to the home.
Just before going into the home, the DA's release stated body camera footage shows Lynn pause at the door "with his hands in the front of his pants and [he] appears to be holding something."
He refused the officer's commands to show his hands and went inside.
"At the time the shot was fired Mr. Lynn had entered the house and the door had closed behind him," the DA's report states. "It was an accidental discharge which appears to have happened as the officer was running and reaching for the storm door."
The footage released on Friday appears to show that series of events. Moments after the shot is fired, you can hear the officer say his "finger slipped."
**WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.**
A second body camera video from a different officer was also released. WBTV is not posting that raw video at this time due to the graphic nature of the victim's wounds.
The DA's release stated the officer's shot went through the storm door and the back door, striking Lynn's sister, Brittany Lynn, who was inside the home.
The video released Friday shows Brittany Lynn coming out of the home with her hands up.
At the scene on the night of the shooting, the Gastonia Police Department stated the shot was fired when officers felt threatened and that Brittany Lynn was not the intended target.
Civil activists called for Officer Whisnant to be fired after the Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell said he would not face charges.
The video was released only after a petition for the police body cam video was sent in by WBTV’s Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner.
Brittany Lynn and her attorney, Charles Everage, said if the shooting was indeed an accident, the video should be released for the public to see.
Friday, activist and family spokesperson John C. Barnett watched the video for the first time.
“He knew he messed up," he said, as he watched.
Barnett is calling for the officer to be fired, and he wants more transparency from police.
“This was a very unfortunate mistake," he said. "I hate it had to happen, but there needs to be some accountability.”