CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer is on paid administrative leave after he shot a man three times.
Police say Officer Tyler had no choice to but shoot. CMPD says it all happened when the officer was trying to break up a fight at an uptown bar while working off duty.
We spoke with witness Zac Lozaga who said he went to Buffalo Wild Wings Saturday night to catch a UFC fight on the big screen. But around 2 a.m., another fight unfolded right in from on him.
Lozaga said what started as a small fight, quickly escalated into a huge altercation and then turned into an unfortunate event.
"A guy that came in he was definitely intoxicated," said Lozaga. "He had a bunch of drinks."
Lozaga says the guy was by himself and started mouthing off to several guys behind him.
"It was about four black males behind him and they were just trying to tell him to sit down sit down," said Zac. "And then the white guy did push him with two hands and that's when a fist was thrown and the altercation began."
There was one police officer in the building. CMPD says Officer Tyler Lee was off duty and working security.
"He tried breaking it up," said Lozaga, "I heard a taser sound I don't know who got tased. I was kind of backing up at that point."
According to police, seconds later someone came behind Officer Lee and put him in chokehold.
"I did see an arm go around the cop's neck and that's when I really backed up," said Lozaga. At that point Lozaga turned around and that's when he heard sounds.
"The sounds were the gunshots," said Lozaga. "People were just terrified, people were running already as it was to get away."
Lee fired his gun three times at the man choking him. CMPD Chief Monroe says the officers actions appear to be justified.
"There are indications that the officers life was in jeopardy." Police have charged Lawrence Johnson and Ryan Murray in the case.
They have not identified the man who was shot by Officer Lee but said he's facing charges as well.
Monroe said this investigation is far from over. So far, police have interviewed approximately 20 witnesses. Monroe said there are additional witnessed they need to interview.