GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WYFF) - Body camera video released Tuesday shows Greenville County deputies fatally shoot a man they say had a handgun.
Tim Brown, Captain of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Office of Professional Standards, said deputies were doing surveillance on July 11 on an unmarked vehicle on Long Forest Drive while looking for Michael Joseph Culbertson.
Brown said Culbertson, 26, was wanted on several traffic warrants, including resisting arrest, failure to stop for a blue light, interfering with police and reckless driving for incidents that happened June 27 and July 10.
The video shows Culbertson walking in the road as two uniformed and five special team deputies got out of an unmarked vehicle and gave Culbertson commands to show his hands, officials said. ”Deputies observed Culbertson while holding a cellphone in his left hand, retrieve a firearm with his right hand. When he does so, deputies fire on the suspect striking him multiple times,” Tim Brown, Captain of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Office of Professional Standards, said.
A 9mm handgun and magazine with multiple rounds were found on scene, officials said.
“Once the suspect is down, deputies place him in handcuffs and begin performing CPR and first aid, Brown said. “As they approach Culbertson, you can see the suspect’s firearm and the magazine that fell from his possession.”
Culbertson was taken to a local hospital, where he died.
No officers were hurt.
“At this point in the investigation, it has been determined that five out of seven deputies on scene fired at the suspect. The other two deputies did not fire their weapon,” Brown said.
Culbert’s grandfather, Carey Reese called the shooting “excessive.” ”It had to be excessive force. Why do you hunt a boy down all day for a traffic violation?” Reese questioned. “There’s some other things that happened before that to make him come out the woods. Some of that stuff needs to come out.”
An internal review led by the Office of Professional Standards determined the shooting was justified.
“After a stringent review, our office has determined that Culbertson’s actions led to the deputies taking the necessary force that unfortunately led to his death,” Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis said.
Officials with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are investigating the shooting.
“He was trying to get out of there and then they shoot him in the back. I mean, they shoot him as his back is turned to ‘em, running away. When’s the stuff ever gonna stop,” Reese said.
Reese is calling on more information to be released.
The Greenville County Sheriff’s office declined to comment or release additional video.
“I know it’s a dangerous job out there for the police and I’ve always respected them and I always tried to do that but it’s just… it’s just so upsetting,” Reese said
The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Incident Command posted the full video of the shooting on YouTube. You can watch it here. (THE VIDEO IS GRAPHIC)