Mom questions police response after 15-year-old son shot in own neighborhood

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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SHELBY, N.C. (WBTV) - Leann Thurman walked up to her son sitting on the street curb less than a minute after police arrived.

Her son, 15-year-old KJ Patterson, had been shot walking down the street just after 7:00 p.m. with a friend a few blocks from his house on the evening of February 26.

He called 911, told the dispatcher he was 15 and he’d been shot.

But you wouldn’t know Patterson was a shooting victim from the way police acted when they arrived on scene.

A WBTV reporter got a judge’s order to release body camera video of the incident.

In the video, two officers arrive and ask who shot Patterson, as he remained seated on the curb. Thurman, Patterson’s mom, arrived about a minute later.

Nearly two minutes after police arrive, they ask Patterson to lift up his shirt to see where he was shot. After looking at the entry wound, an officer declared he’d been shot by a BB gun.

But that’s not what happened. Patterson was shot by a .22 bullet that nicked his liver, causing it to bleed. He spent nine days in the hospital and had to have his appendix removed. He’s got a long scar running up his abdomen.

The body camera video shows that after an officer decided Patterson had been shot with a BB gun, he told him to stand up. Patterson is helped to his feet and held up as officers take off his shirt and search his torso.

The video released by a judge ends just as an ambulance pulls up on scene.

Thurman, who lost a twin brother to gun violence, says she wants to know why police didn’t do more to help her son before EMS arrived.

“They didn’t even try to help me aid my baby,” she said.

“I was hoping that the officer would treat him like a gunshot wound victim, to aid him to make sure he is OK.”

Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford said he couldn’t answer questions for this story because Thurman filed a complaint about the officers who arrived on scene and the investigation into who shot her son is ongoing.

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