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Richmond Police Officer
Shot: June 7, 2001
Where: On duty in the East End.
I was working a drug unit with Richmond's 1st Precinct in the East End. There had been a shootout the night before between Mosby and Fairfield [public-housing complexes]. It's ongoing. There's still a feud today between them. We'd heard there'd be retaliation in Fairfield the next day. That's why we were there. The problem was, it was only me and my sergeant to provide the [police] saturation. Everybody else was in court.
I want to say it was around 2 o'clock. We saw a vehicle occupied by three people. Their music was up. It was loud. And there was also a small child bouncing in the back. Because it was a slow day, we decided to make a traffic stop, let them know about the noise ordinance. When I walked up to the vehicle, the driver rolled the window down and I immediately smelled marijuana. The car was all smoky, and a small girl about 3 or 4 was jumping in the back seat.
The driver was cooperative. I asked him to wait and went back to my patrol car. I found out there was a warrant out on him. I called for another unit. It took three or four times for me to get through. Elsewhere it was a busy day on the street. Finally a unit spoke up from the academy. I engaged in what we call "hucklebuck" you know, chitchat. I didn't want the men in the vehicle to know I knew anything.
I went back, asked him to get out of the car. He did and I placed him in handcuffs. We got the passenger out and patted him down, to see there were no weapons or drugs. I went to do the same with the rear passenger. When he stepped out, about 12 bags of marijuana fell out of his lap and onto the ground.
I said, "All right, you're under arrest." He swung at me and hit me and took off running. I started chasing the guy. We ran all through Fairfield Court and came to a cut between two streets. I lost sight of him for a second. Then I saw him. He'd taken his shirt off and was trying to get into an apartment.
I had drawn my weapon and ordered him down. I knew I couldn't shoot him, so I holstered my gun. Then he took a defensive fighting stance. So I sprayed him with [pepper spray]. It had no effect. He got back up and the chase was on again.
I chased him all the way to the 2300 block of Rosetta. I remember I could hear the police sirens coming. It sounded like they were right behind me.
This was a big guy: 6-foot-3, 250-plus [pounds]. I started gaining on him. My intention was just to get him subdued. He turned and grabbed me and the fight was on from there, a full-on fistfight.
At some point he got ahold of my weapon. And all of a sudden it was pointed in my face. I was on top. I punched him once and heard this shot go off. I actually thought I was shot in my head. It was right against my face and I just thought it must have hit my head. It registers I knew I'd been shot. I'd felt the percussion of everything. It turns out I'd been shot in my [right] hand and arm.
I thought, well shit, I've got to do something. I'm not going to die in this toilet-hole of a place. I hit him with my left fist, then pushed away to get distance and cover. As I was going for cover, he turns with my gun.
They shot him 14 times. My partner and a female backup [officer]. I watched him go down. I could see the rounds go into him. He didn't have his shirt on. I vividly remember each round going into the skin and it ripping with blood. I was laying in the middle of the road. When I saw my partner, Al Joyner, I felt safe.
I lost 50 percent of the mobility in my right hand. I had to have bone grafts and reconstructive surgery. I still don't have a lot of feeling, but I can perform my duties as an officer. I had to learn how to write again. But that was my job to get drug dealers and criminals off the street. And his name was Levester Carter. It turns out he was one of D.C.'s top 10 most wanted. He was wanted for murder. He'd shot his girlfriend point-blank in the head. SBack to the cover story.