WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A man who Winston-Salem police say tried to shoot at officers during a physical struggle will now be charged with attempted murder.
The incident happened Sunday afternoon on Broad Street in Winston-Salem when 34-year-old Darryl Click was approached by a Officer M.A. Evanofski as he sat in his car.
Police say Click appeared to be impaired or intoxicated. And as the officer spoke with him, he smoked a marijuana cigarette. When asked to step out of the car, police say Click instead grabbed a handgun from the passenger seat and a physical struggle ensued.
Officer Evanofski called Officers Davidson and Fore to the scene for backup.
Police say Click managed to fire one shot from the gun, just missing Officer Fore. The bullet did not hit any of the officers.
Police say Click continued to try to fire the gun after that but was unsuccessful.
Officers were able to get the gun from Click’s hands and arrest him. He is charged with resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer, assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, carrying a concealed gun felony possession of marijuana and now attempted murder.
Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill announced the new charges in a press conference Wednesday. He also highlighted bigger staffing issues within the Winston-Salem Police Department.
“We are at a critical point in this community as it relates to our officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department,” O’Neill said.
According to the DA, as of Jan 26., the Winston-Salem Police Department is down 100 officers, which equals 20 percent of their workforce. He went on to say three more officers resigned from the Winston-Salem police force Wednesday.
He adds that the department’s last rookie class had only 50 percent of the graduates they’re used to compared to previous classes.
He says Sunday’s incident is one example of why it’s getting harder to recruit new people.
“Folks, if we don’t start caring about law enforcement, we’re going to wake up one day, and we’re not going to have law enforcement, ” O’Neill said. “When you call 911, and they put you on hold, you’re going to know we’re past the part where we can fix it.”
With the upgraded charges against Click after he allegedly shot at officers, the DA is making it clear that attacks on officers will not be tolerated in his district.
“You will not assault a police officer. You will not pull a gun on an officer. You will not harm a police officer without the weight of this office coming down on you,” O’Neill said.
The Winston-Salem chief of police gave the following statement regarding staffing issues within the department:
The Winston-Salem Police Department, along with the majority of law enforcement agencies throughout the country, is experiencing staffing shortages. The shortages are affecting both our sworn officer and non-sworn positions. This issue has increased exponentially for the past several years. Agencies throughout the country are being forced to make tough decisions and necessary adjustments to ensure proper staffing. The Winston-Salem Police Department remains committed to providing exceptional law enforcement services and maintaining the highest levels of safety in our community. To continue to do this, we constantly evaluate the best and most efficient deployment of our personnel throughout the agency. Unfortunately, this means that some of our specialized units have been disbanded temporarily until staffing levels improve. We place a high priority on the safety of our officers. Ensuring that our Patrol Division is adequately staffed in order to keep our personnel safe is paramount. Affected personnel have been reassigned to our Patrol Division in an effort to maintain a strong police presence within the community and ensure officer safety on the streets of Winston-Salem. Citizens should not see any changes to the high quality, professional service they receive from the Winston-Salem Police Department as a result of these temporary deployment changes.
— Winston-Salem Chief of Police Catrina Thompson
Click is being held on a $627,000 bond.