BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Something went wrong at a Brunswick County checkpoint, leaving two people recovering from gunshot wounds and seven deputies on the sidelines until investigators get answers.
Four sheriff's deputies from Brunswick County have been moved to desk positions and three New Hanover County deputies are on leave after 34-year-old Antoine Graham and 42-year-old Jerry Melvin, both of Leland, were shot at a DWI checkpoint.
Brunswick Sheriff John Ingram said Monday during a news conference that everything was done by procedure. When the shooting happened, the checkpoint had just started and deputies immediately shut it down to deal with the situation at hand.
WHAT TRIGGERED THE SHOOTING
According to Ingram, deputies saw Graham and Melvin throwing things from the vehicle before they got to the checkpoint. Deputies were able to recover a gun and a bag of weed.
The sheriff said it is unclear at this point if the two items belongs to either of the suspects.
Ingram said the suspect's car did not stop as it approached the DWI checkpoint in Leland, so deputies opened fire on the oncoming car. The vehicle, however, made it through the checkpoint without stopping.
The chief said one suspect got out of the car and tried to run but was caught. The other suspect continued to drive, and deputies used a pit maneuver in an attempt to stop the car. After the spinout, the car kept going so offers opened fire on the vehicle again because they believed there was still a threat to their safety.
Ingram said he was not sure how many bullets were fired during the incident.
No officers or civilians were injured in the shooting, but a New Hanover County Sheriff's patrol car was hit by a bullet. Sgt. JJ Brewer with NHCSO said the officer was not inside the vehicle when it was shot. The car was parked at the checkpoint.
According to Ingram, Graham and Melvin both had multiple gunshot wounds. They were taken to the hospital for treatment after the shooting. Melvin has since been released and Graham remains listed in good condition.
Melvin made his first appearance in court Monday where he was given a court appointed attorney. Court documents show he is accused of using his 1998 Lincoln Navigator to try to run over deputies.
Melvin has been charged with eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and one count of felony conspiracy.
Graham is charged with 10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, 10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill on a government official, one count of flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle, one count of felony conspiracy, one count of possession of marijuana up to ½ ounce, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Both the Brunswick and New Hanover County Sheriff's Offices are conducting internal investigations into the shooting. An independent investigation is also being conducted by the SBI. Sheriff Ingram reportedly requested that the SBI review the case.
District Attorney Jon David made a concurrent request for the SBI to get involved in the investigation.
Representatives from David's office, including an intern, were on the scene of the checkpoint to aid law enforcement. They witnessed the incident, which may create a conflict when it comes to the district attorney's role in the case.
Click here to read an eyewitness description of the terror from the DWI checkpoint shooting. Be sure to stay with WECT for continuing coverage.