Councilman Asks U.S. Attorney General to Investigate Fatal Police Shooting of Suspect in Wheelchair

A Delaware councilman is calling for a federal investigation of a caught on cam incident in which police fatally shot a man in a wheelchair who investigators say was armed with a gun.

A fatal shooting of a man in a wheelchair involving police has raised a lot of questions in the Wilmington Community. A local councilman is now calling for a federal investigation.

New Castle County Councilman Jea P. Street sent the request to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles Oberly III Monday.

Video surfaced last week of an encounter with police and 28-year-old Jeremy McDole. The 1-minute-and-19-second-long video, recorded by a witness on a smartphone and posted to YouTube, shows a man being shot on Sept. 23 along the 1800 block of Tulip Street in Wilmington.

Multiple gunshots can be heard in the clip.

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Police said they responded to a 911 call at 3:07 p.m. of a man suffering from a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound. When police arrived, officials said officers found McDole — who was paralyzed from the waist down — was armed with a handgun. They also say a shooting ensued shortly after.

"He pulled out his gun. He was trying to shoot himself up there," witness Sean Owens said Thursday. "I think he may have shot himself once or twice, but he shot the other shots in the air.”

McDole later died at the scene, police said.

The video begins with an officer, armed with a shotgun, shouting for McDole, who was sitting in his  the wheelchair behind a silver Mercedes, to show his hands.

A single gunshot can then be heard. The video does not show who fired the shot as the camera dropped toward the ground.

"Show me your hands! Drop the gun! Drop the gun!" officers continue to shout as McDole moves in the wheelchair. Additional police can be heard, but are blocked from view by a wall. It's not possible to see in the video the handgun witnesses and police said McDole was holding.

McDole appeared to be bleeding profusely as he adjusted himself in the wheelchair. It's not clear if he was hit by the first gunshot heard on the video or had been previously injured.

After 57-seconds, the man could be seen putting his hand into his pocket and then a flurry of gunfire ensues. At least 10 gunshots can be heard. The shooters are blocked from view by the wall.

Then McDole rolls to his left and falls onto the ground.

Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings said he's watched the video and believes the officers acted professionally. A .38-caliber handgun was recovered, he said.

"The officers perceived what was a threat and they responded and they engaged," Cummings said. Four officers were involved in the shooting, officials said. They have all been placed on leave.

McDole's family questioned the use of deadly force.

"Why couldn't you tase this man out of his wheelchair," asked his sister, Letesha Green. "Why couldn't you use rubber bullets to get him out of the wheelchair?"

Bishop Anthony Slaughter, who lives in the Wilmington neighborhood where the shooting happened, said he counseled McDole and disputed the man was suicidal.

"He didn't show any signs of being depressed or anything of that nature," he said.

Cummings, the police chief, said authorities do not believe any other video exists of the incident. NBC10 asked retired ATF agent Matt Horace to review the video. He said police gave McDole just warning.

"The subject in the video had clearly been identified as armed and he was given lawful instruction on more than one occasion to drop the gun," he said.

The Delaware Department of Justice is handling the investigation as is required by state law. In a statement, officials said they will work quickly to provide an account of the incident to the public. They will determine whether charges should be filed.

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