WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The woman shot Wednesday by incoming Winston-Salem Police Chief Barry Rountree says he did not immediately come to help her after she was shot.
“He did not come to me. He backed away,” says Tamara Whitt after being released from the hospital. “He just backed up and I saw the cell phone come out … he walked across the street over there by that car over there and he was on his phone … and I told the SBI he did not come to me.”
Investigators say Rountree shot Whitt in the leg after responding to a dangerous weapon call at 124 North Jackson Ave. around 1:30 p.m, after a 911 caller reported a man was standing on the porch with a large gun pointed at another person.
Rountree and Officer Mohammed Khan, responded to the scene stationing themselves behind Khan’s vehicle.
Whitt, who lives nearby, says her boxer dog “Lebrone” heard the officers and went down the driveway as she followed. In a Winston-Salem Police Dept. news release investigators say the dog ran toward Rountree and Khan, acting in an “aggressive manner.” Rountree attempted to shoot the dog, but his bullet hit the pavement and struck Whitt.
“The dog was closer to me than the officer, that’s where this whole thing is just out of hand,” said Whitt who questions why Rountree fired his gun while she was near the dog. “I wasn’t expecting the gun to be fired because I was right there.” Whitt also says her dog is “very passive” and “not aggressive.”
According to police, the round struck the pavement ricocheted and bullet fragments struck Whitt. Whitt says the entire 40 caliber bullet is inside her left thigh and doctors say it’s too dangerous to remove.
Whitt says officer Khan immediately radioed for help and came to her aid, but it wasn’t until after Rountree finished his phone call that he walked over to ask if she was ok.
“I just hope that the SBI does a good investigation and really sees if he really deserve to be our police [chief] because I honestly thought that was a rookie mistake.”
Lebrone - the family dog, is ok and in the custody of Forsyth County Animal Control.
The SBI is investigating the incident, which is standard protocol in officer-involved shootings.
Assistant Chief Rountree has been placed on administrative duty, while an investigation is conducted.
His swearing-in will be held as scheduled on June 30, however, Assistant Chief David Clayton will be acting as chief until Rountree returns to full duty, according to the department news release.