BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Demonstrating the way a seemingly routine action can turn into a life-threatening encounter for police officers, dash cam video shows a driver open fire on a Battle Creek officer during a traffic stop on Saturday.
Monday, 21-year-old Darriyone Zamone Clark-Brown was arraigned on several charges including attempted murder in the incident.
Dash cam video of the shooting, which was released Monday by the Battle Creek Police Department, is time-stamped around 3:12 p.m. Saturday and shows Officer Brad Gentry pull over a car in the area of Hubbard Street and W. Goodale Avenue.
The video shows the officer approach the driver’s side window and say, “What’s up, man.” No sooner are the words out of his mouth than the driver pulls a handgun and fires what sounds like a single shot near Gentry’s head.
The officer wasn’t actually shot, but he was temporarily deafened. In the video, he can be seen stumbling back as the shooter speeds away.
Gentry returned fire at the fleeing vehicle, getting off what sounds like 10 shots as he reported, “shots fired, shots fired,” into his radio.
He then pursued the suspect, describing his car and telling dispatchers, “He shot me. I’m not hit.”
The suspect led police on an about four-minute car chase through a residential neighborhood that reached speeds of up to 70 mph, as Gentry can be heard saying in the video. The suspect ignored stop signs and dodged around passing vehicles, coming close to a few. At one point, his car spun around, facing the way he had come, before the suspect regained control and kept driving.
“If anybody can take that car out, do it,” someone can be heard ordering over the radio.
Gentry narrated the route of the chase. He was breathing heavily and told his colleagues he could “hardly hear,” but overall he sounded composed and focused. Eventually, he asked others who joined the pursuit to take the lead.
“I can still barely hear my radio,” he explains.
“Go ahead and bow out. Let us pass you,” another officer responds over the radio.
Other cruisers then took the lead. Only moments later, the car chase came to an end when the suspect ditched his vehicle.
He took off on foot, dropping his gun into a snow bank before holing up in his mother’s home on W. Coolidge Street just west of North Avenue, about a mile from where the traffic stop happened. A standoff ensued and came to an end around 7 p.m. when a police K-9 bit Clark-Brown, who was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
“(Gentry) did outstanding. I’m proud of him, I’m proud of our department — the way that we responded, the way that we handled it. Ultimately, the suspect was found inside the residence. He was unarmed, and he was taken into custody without incident,” BCPD Maj. Jim Grafton said. “It was a safe resolution after a very deadly situation. “
The sound of the shot caused temporary hearing loss for Gentry, who has been with the force for two years, Grafton said.
“He’s not back on the job. He will be soon,” Grafton said Monday. “We’re just thankful that he’s able to return back to the job. After that incident, he returned home safely to his friends and family.”
Police say they still don’t know why Clark-Brown shot at Gentry.
“We don’t know what was going through the suspect’s mind at the time,” Grafton said. “Why did he decide to do this? I don’t know.”
He said the video demonstrates the constant danger police officers face.
“It’s a scary situation where you have, all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, no time to react, that you have a shot being fired off right near your head.” Grafton said. “If he would’ve been hit, I don’t even want to go down that road.”
Clark-Brown was arraigned Monday in Calhoun County District Court on charges of assault with intent to murder, carrying a concealed weapon, felony firearm, fleeing and eluding, resisting, obstructing or assaulting an officer and driving without a license.
He shook his head and covered his eyes during the short arraignment hearing, during which he learned that he faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Clark-Brown has never had a valid driver’s license, as far as the Michigan Secretary of State knows. That did not stop him from accumulating numerous traffic violations, fines and fees over the last four years.
He does not appear to have a significant criminal record other than the driving infractions.
A judge set his bond at $250,000. He remains in the Calhoun County Jail on a $250,000 bond pending a court date next week.