CMPD video shows tense moments before officer involved shooting

An officer’s attempt to stop a stolen car ended with seven shots fired by police played out in one Charlotte neighborhood in September last year.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 6:03 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - An officer’s attempt to stop a stolen car ended with seven shots fired by police played out in one Charlotte neighborhood in September last year.

WBTV has now obtained body camera footage from the incident after a reporter petitioned in court for its release.

The incident happened on Onxy Street, just off Beatties Ford Road and was triggered when a car came back as stolen. Video shows a traffic camera zooming into the car while it’s stopped at a red light; you can see a pistol with an extended magazine sitting in the driver’s lap.

The driver of the car was Shaheed Covington.

The video shows the tense moments after Covington stopped the car. He got out, with his pistol in hand, and took off running. Officers chased after him, yelling for him to drop the gun.

When Covington encountered two more officers on the other side of a house whose back yard he was running through, the officers opened fire. A third officer--who was chasing behind him--also fired shots.

Covington was not hit.

The video shows Covington stop running after the shots began and put his gun on the ground before putting his hands in the air. The officers stop shooting and order him on the ground, where he is taken into custody.

“We’re looking at a matter of less than three seconds of when the shots were fired and when this individual had that firearm in his hand and ultimately dropped the gun, which is the outcome that we certainly want to have on situations like this,” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said in an interview.

Video from September of 2022 when officers attempted to stop a vehicle reported as stolen.

“I think that’s important to realize too is that when once they realized that there was no additional imminent threat to them or third parties, they stopped the deadly force that they were using to stop the to at the threat that they were facing at the time,” Jennings said.

Covington was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and resist, obstruct, delay of an officer. He was released from jail hours after his arrest on a $21,000 bond.

Court records show Covington was arrested in late February on new violent charges of shooting into an occupied dwelling.

Jennings said this case is an example of instances where suspects arrested for violent crimes are given low bonds and end up back in custody accused of other violent crimes.

“I realize it’s a tough situation. If I’m a magistrate or even a judge that has to set bond, I know it’s not easy,” Jennings said.

“But, you know, at some point, I think we all have a responsibility in the criminal justice system to make sure that we’re keeping our citizens safe. And we really don’t do that when we have violent offenders that are easily bonding out of jail when we could simply make that a little bit more difficult task.”

Jennings said he thinks the community would be safer is magistrates reconsidered giving low bonds to offenders who are charged with violent crimes.

“I know that there are people in jail that that have bonds that can’t afford to get out that probably should be out. And and I’m all for bond reform,” he said.

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings talks with WBTV about bond reform

“But at the same time, when you have repeat violent offenders that are rarely see in time in jail because they do have the means to get out, that’s concerning.”