The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation will likely interview this week the Winston-Salem police officer who fatally shot a man during a traffic stop last Friday.
SBI officials hope that interview will give them a better idea of what happened in the moments leading up to the shooting.
Edward Van McCrae, 60, of Winston-Salem, was shot by Officer Dalton McGuire about 10:35 p.m. Friday after the car he was riding in was stopped at the intersection of Bowen Boulevard and Douglas Hill Drive. Scott Williams, special agent in charge with the State Bureau of Investigation, said he’s uncertain why the traffic stop was conducted, but radio traffic between the officer and a dispatcher said the stop was for a license check.
Williams said he anticipates McGuire will be interviewed this week by the SBI. Details are still being worked out between the SBI and McGuire’s attorney, who is a representative with the Police Benevolent Association.
Williams said the events unfolded in a matter of minutes.
Previous coverage of the shooting of Edward McCrae by Winston-Salem police officer Dalton McGuire.
McCrae was the only person in the back seat; a woman was driving and a second man was in the front passenger seat, Williams said.
During the traffic stop, Winston-Salem police previously said McCrae was acting suspiciously and trying to reach toward concealed areas of the vehicle. McGuire told McCrae several times to stop. Police said McCrae ignored him.
Police said McGuire immediately requested backup and ordered McCrae to get out of the vehicle.
It’s not clear if McCrae refused to exit.
Williams said McGuire opened the car door and pulled McCrae out.
Police said the pair struggled, with McCrae refusing McGuire’s commands to “stop reaching.” Williams said during the struggle, McGuire received some superficial scratches to his arm and face.
Police said McCrae was shot after McGuire saw a handgun. Williams declined to say how many times McGuire fired his weapon. Williams confirmed a handgun that was not McGuire’s was seized that night outside of the vehicle. He said he was unable to say if it was found on or near McCrae’s body.
Williams said McCrae was also placed in handcuffs following the shooting. McCrae died at the scene.
An autopsy was scheduled for Monday, Williams said.
Community organizations and the city presented a united front at a media briefing Monday to address the shooting. During the briefing, transparency was pledged by the city, but few additional details were released.
Winston-Salem police Chief Catrina Thompson attended the briefing but did not answer any questions.
Thompson did speak at the beginning of Monday night’s meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council, and appealed for “peace, calm and patience.” She gave no new details on the case, but said her department would be transparent and cooperative during the investigation.
“Winston-Salem is a great community,” Thompson said. “We are not like many other communities across the country. We work together and strive to do what is right all the time.”
Mayor Allen Joines; Mayor Pro-Tem Vivian Burke, who represents the northeast ward where the shooting occurred; and Council member James Taylor Jr., chair of the public safety committee, all expressed their condolences to McCrae’s family.
Burke said, however, that she hasn’t heard anyone in her ward question the actions of police.
“We have a department that works with citizens,” she said. “But once you cross the line, there’s a price to pay.”
Police previously said McGuire activated his body camera prior to initiating the traffic stop.
Taylor and Joines said they expect the footage to be released to the public upon the completion of the investigation.
Under North Carolina law, such footage can be released only by court order. The Winston-Salem Journal has asked its attorneys to file a request to release the footage.
“The city of Winston-Salem will be totally and absolutely transparent,” Joines said. “We will release all of the information as soon as we can under the law.”
Bishop Todd Fulton, speaking on behalf of the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, said at the media briefing that in the past the organization hasn’t always had the best relationship with law enforcement. That’s changed, however, and he said he feels confident the investigation will be transparent.
Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the Winston-Salem chapter of the NAACP, echoed these sentiments, but said the organization will continue to keep a watchful eye on the investigation.
“We’re always about vetting the facts and making sure our facts are based on what happened,” he said. “We’re here to make sure police are (transparent), and to be vigilant.”
Fulton also urged anyone who wants to march to do so peacefully and with the proper permits.
Michael Banner of Winston-Salem called McCrae his adopted uncle. He said that McCrae was leery of police.
“That’s him, and that’s me, too,” Banner said, of McCrae possibly refusing an officer’s directions during the traffic stop. “To be highly antagonized by police, you’re not going to have a warm feeling toward police.”
Banner described McCrae as a man who loved life, despite being in and out of prison for numerous charges, including assault on an officer and drugs.
“He had a strong character,” Banner said. “He liked to have a good time. He was very stubborn. And he was very industrious. He knew how to make a dollar out of nothing.”
Banner is anxious to find out the results of the investigation into McCrae’s death.
“I will be patient and wait for the facts to come out,” he said.