Media wants video in student shooting

September 18, 2009 8:32:55 AM PDT
A judge listened to arguments Friday in a media request for the police dash cam video from a shooting that left a University of North Carolina fraternity president dead.Courtland Smith, 20, of Houston, Texas, died in August along Interstate 85 in Randolph County when police shot him shortly after he called 911 to report he was feeling suicidal.

Lawyers for ABC 11 and other media outlets argued Friday that the tape likely shows if officers acted correctly - and it's in the public interest to know.

Officials have released recordings of the 911 call Smith made that night and radio traffic between officers.

Click to listen to the first recording (caution, graphic language) | Click here to listen to the second recording

In the call, Smith tells an operator he's been drinking and he's armed with a 9mm.

"I'm trying to kill myself on I-40," Smith told the 911 operator.

Smith's speech is slow, halting, and slurred.

The operator begins to ask Smith a series of questions to try and figure out where he was and what kind of car he was driving.

The dispatcher continues to talk to Smith until Archdale police officers catch up to his Toyota 4-Runner in Randolph County.

In the 911 call, you can hear Smith get out of his vehicle and speak to officers. In the new tape released Thursday, you can hear them yelling at him.

“Stay in the car! Stay in the car!” they say.

“Archdale: Subject is getting back into his vehicle, stand by,” one of the officers calls in.

Then a few seconds later:

“Subject down! Subject down!”

And then another officer saying “shots fired, shots fired.”

The NC State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death. The Archdale Police Department has placed the officer who shot Smith - Jeremy Paul Flinchum - on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. A second officer at the scene - whose name was not released - is also on leave.

Smith was the chapter president of the UNC-Chapel Hill Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity chapter. A Delta Kappa Episilon alumnus said Smith set his career path his freshman year. The pre-med student wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist.

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