Off Duty LEO Saves Himself--Video


October 16, 2007, 08:34 AM

Omar Brown shootout tape

Monday, Oct 15, 2007 - 05:19 AM Updated: 06:30 PM

The Charleston County Solicitor says Omar Brown, an off-duty police officer and mayor candidate, acted appropriately during a gas-station shoot-out. Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson released 911 calls and the surveillance video Monday. She says the video plays a crucial role in her decision.

Wilson would not say how many shots were fired or who fired first, but she says it doesn't matter because the video shows an officer taking action to protect himself.

The images captured on the El Cheapo surveillance camera look like a scene straight out of a movie. Yet, instead of an actor, you're seeing off-duty cop and mayoral candiate Omar Brown.

At least six people called 911 to report the shooting. One man told the dispatcher, "There's a bunch of shots just been fired here. There was a black guy running around and someone's shooting the hell out of him." Another caller described the gunshots as "pow, pow, pa pow" while a motorist driving by called 911 screaming, "Holy @#@#. I thought he was gonna shoot me. I was coming by in the truck."

Yet, it was not the calls, but the surveillance video that the solicitor reviewed repeatedly to make her decision. Wilson said, "I have found Officer Brown acted reasonably and lawfully." Wilson said South Carolina's Castle Doctrine justified Officer Brown's actions. She said, "A person is not required to wait till his assailant gets the drop on him." That's what Wilson says Antonio Rivers, who appears in a green striped shirt in the video, tried to do.

The video shows Officer Brown reach around Rivers as he was standing at the counter. Brown grabbed his two snack cakes and a Pepsi, then walked out the door. Yet, it's that encounter that officials say started the shooting. Wilson said, "It is so ridiculous. I think most of us had in our minds a shoulder to shoulder bump that can be kind of aggressive. You can barely see any sort of contact."

The video then shows River leaving the counter and rushing to his car. The solicitor reviewed the tape with News 2 and pointed out River's arms. She said, "Notice how his arms are out and it appears his hands are empty." Wilson said Rivers went to his car to get a gun, then walked to Brown's Mercedes with his right hand hidden behind his back. That's when the video shows Brown getting out of his car, firing his gun.
The 911 dispatcher asked one of the callers, "How many gunshots did you hear?" The caller answered, "At least seven." They're shots, according to Wilson, that saved Officer Brown's life.

Investigators found two types of ammuniton rounds at the scene. Officer Brown had a .45 Glock that the solicitor says he fired until the threat was eliminated. The solicitor says River's gun is in custody of SLED agents, undergoing testing at a laboratory.

Wilson says the Castle Doctrine not only protects officers, but all citizens. She said everyone has the right to protect themselves, whether it's in their home, their car or a business if they reasonably feel they are in danger.

Yet, River's attorney, Skip Martin, disagrees with the solicitor's decision. He sent News 2 a statement saying, "At no time on the video does Mr. Rivers point or present a firearm. Citizen Brown shot a man multiple times. He too should be prosecuted for his actions."

Officer Brown is on paid leave from the City of Charleston Police Department until the mayoral election. He is using the time to recover from a gunshot wound to the thigh, as well as work on his campaign.

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October 16, 2007, 09:28 AM
Did I see it wrong, or did he discharge one of his last rounds into the ground?

Also, I notice him ducking at least once. Not something you do if you're not being shot at.....

October 16, 2007, 09:45 AM
Sounds like he might've discharged one of em into his thigh ?

October 16, 2007, 09:46 AM
Maybe my limited analysis practice of shoot-outs is the problem, but it didn't look like he was extremely worried about getting to cover. Yes, I think he did put one in the ground. He also swept the cashier's location. Understandable under stress, but given that he put a round in the ground at his feet a second earlier, I wouldn't have wanted to be that cashier.

October 16, 2007, 09:48 AM
That's what I was thinking. The report said that he was wounded, as did the initial reports I heard on the radio this AM. However, after seeing the video, I saw no difinitive proof that
1) the assailant was armed
2) the assailant shot him
However, it doesn't disprove either. And his ducking sure makes it look like he was being shot at.
The radio reports also said a gun was found with or on the the assailant. No mention in the article, though, just of two caliber casings on the scene.

It smells good....barely....but I'd love to see more information come out.

October 16, 2007, 10:58 AM
How many times, if at all, was Rivers shot? That was some horrible handling of a weapon by "Officer" Brown.

October 16, 2007, 11:04 AM
What was the result with the assailant? Was he hit?

October 16, 2007, 11:09 AM
From the reports, the assailant was hit. I'm not sure if Brown was hit by the assailant or himself. It does seem pretty erratic in the video.

If you watch the video to the end, the assailant comes back from the car with (at least seemingly but not convincingly) a handgun in his right hand, hidden behind his hip.

It does look as though Brown put a round either into his own car or into the ground.


Working Man
October 16, 2007, 11:16 AM
Did I see it wrong, or did he discharge one of his last rounds into the ground?

Thats what I saw too.

I do like the "A person is not required to wait till his assailant gets the drop on him."

That is thinking in the right direction.

October 16, 2007, 01:25 PM
I would be interested in the conversation that took place at the counter. I would also be interested in knowing how Brown knew that Rivers had a gun behind his back. If Rivers is coming up from that angle, I would think it would be dificult for Brown to see the gun from the rear view or side mirrors. I think Rivers had the gun and must have escalated the conversation as he was walking up to Brown's vehicle giving Brown notification or indicated that he was armed.

October 16, 2007, 01:31 PM
Well, at least gas is cheaper there in S. Carolina than it is here in KS.

October 16, 2007, 02:11 PM
God Bless South Carolina!

F***ing thug got more than he bargained for after a little shoulder bump at the front counter.

Good shoot Mr. Brown! Maybe he's the one to clean up Charleston!

October 16, 2007, 02:18 PM
That punk almost got the jump on Brown.

Too bad Brown didn't unload one in punk's face on the first shot.

October 16, 2007, 02:21 PM
The article says that the BG had a gun and they are running ballistic tests. The solicitor says River's gun is in custody of SLED agents, undergoing testing at a laboratory.So, it was justifiable. The thug walked up to his car after retrieving a gun. No need to wait and see if he's actually going to shoot you with it before you take action.

El Tejon
October 16, 2007, 03:26 PM
IF you are in law enforcement, stram.

If Brown had no badge, then the chance of him being prosecuted would increase.

October 16, 2007, 03:43 PM

The "El Cheapo" gas station.

mucho gusto el spanglish de gasolinera y pistolas

October 16, 2007, 03:52 PM
I've watched the video several times and some is pretty straight forward but some is not.
It looks like Brown shot several rounds (4-6?) and, yes, one does look like it went into the ground just feet in front of him. Brown ducked once and even w/o audio, it looked like he ducked due to another shot being fired.
They found two different kinds for casings on the ground and they have the BG's gun in custody.
What we don't really see is what Brown sees as the BG is doing something in his truck with the door open and as he walks toward Brown. Did Brown purposely watch the dude 'cause of something that was said at the store counter? Brown was fairly observant and quick to react by the looks on the video.

Conclusion (by me) : I'll wait until I hear what the two stories are and what the police say. I'm leaning toward that Brown was justified.

10 Ring Tao
October 16, 2007, 03:55 PM
This explains the scumbag's mentality:

GANG MEMBER QUOTE “When I turned 16, that’s when I basically started shooting people, putting in work and all. In my neighborhood, people feared me. They feared me because I didn’t have no problems with taking a life. I mean, you know, you disrespect me or do something wrong to me, you’ll die for it.”

So I guess reaching around the scumbag to pick up the stuff he bought was enough disrespect to be killed.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have a "gun crime problem" in this country.

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