A Jacksonville, North Carolina police officer shot and killed his 15-year-old son while they were "playing with toy guns" and authorities are refusing media requests for public records related to the incident. It appears someone leaked a recording to WITN, a local news affiliate.
"The caller is advising that it's going to be accidental," said a sheriff's office dispatcher in a recording obtained by WITN News. "They were advising they were playing with toy guns. Somehow they've had a gunshot wound."
In the recording, that dispatcher said a .45 caliber weapon was used in the shooting. A deputy at the scene then advised the shooter was a Jacksonville police officer.
WITN requested both the 911 recording and the sheriff's office radio broadcasts last week, both which are public records under state law.
The county has refused to release the 911 call, claiming it was a medical call and not a request for law enforcement. Both EMS and deputies were dispatched as a result of that telephone call.
You know what toy guns don't do? They don't shoot bullets.
Withholding the tape (and the identity of the cop) might be business as usual in Onslow County. The way the dispatcher defers to how the shooter "advises" them is probably just dispatcher jargon. Nonetheless, the "exonerative mode" taken toward incidents like this creates an obvious blind spot and that's when you realize why institutions can never be trusted and why transparency must be imposed.