Body camera of fatal shooting involving Winston-Salem officer released

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The body camera video from a fatal shooting involving a Winston-Salem police officer in March was released Monday.

At approximately 10:30 on March 30, Officer Dalton McGuire initiated a traffic stop near Bowen Boulevard. Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill says McGuire stopped the vehicle because the vehicle’s license plate was expired and showed that the owner of the vehicle had a suspended driver’s license.

Once the vehicles were stopped, McGuire approached the vehicle to see 60-year-old Edward McCrae in the back seat. McCrae appeared to be transferring something between his hands and McGuire thought it may have been illegal drugs, O’Neill said.

The video shows McCrae turn his back to McGuire. At this point, McGuire ordered McCrae to get out of the car, then pulled McCrae from the car.

McCrae and McGuire then begin to struggle, with McGuire repeatedly telling McCrae to “quit it.”

The men then went to the ground and McGuire observed McCrae reaching into his back pocket. McGuire then saw that McCrae was reaching for a silver handgun, which McGuire described as a silver semiautomatic .25 cal.

“The front passenger of the vehicle, a relative of Mr. McCrae, was later recorded down at PSC, talking to himself and asking, ‘Unc, why would you do something like that,’” O’Neill said.

McGuire says McCrae then got to his feet and lunged to pick up the gun with both hands.

McGuire shot at McCrae four times, striking him three times, before immediately radioing “shots fired.”

“The trajectory right to left is how it entered the body," O’Neill said, detailing that McCrae’s wounds were not consistent with being shot in the back.

“All of our officers who are on the streets have body cameras, so that the citizens and so that the officers can see exactly what happens,” Winston-Salem Public Safety Committee Chair James Taylor said.

McCrae’s toxicology report shows he had marijuana and cocaine in his system. It was later found that his gun was loaded with seven bullets.

“I’m honored and grateful today to say that the transparency has been shown in this tape,” said Bishop Todd Fulton, of the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity.

McGuire was cleared of any wrongdoing.

“He appreciates the exoneration today, but make no mistake, he takes no joy in the actions from March of this past year,” said McGuire’s attorney, David Freedman.

“We are disappointed in the determination with regard to probable cause and the criminal charges,” McCrae family attorney John Vermitsky said.

Vermitsky says they plan to take the case to civil court.

“I know the family has been very grateful that violence hasn’t happened in our community and on our streets as a result of this incident,” he said.