Security video obtained by our sister station WAVY shows the moments surrounding a police-involved shooting that left one man dead and two others injured.
The shooting happened at a 7-Eleven at the corner of Kecoughtan Road and Cherry Avenue in Hampton in October 2017.
The video, which was provided by an attorney representing the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against two officers involved, shows what happened inside and outside the convenience store the night of the shooting.
Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell said in a letter earlier this month officers Charles Howser and Maurice Craighill were investigating car larcenies and thefts on the Peninsula when they saw a stolen Ford Raptor — and followed it from a 7-Eleven in Newport News to the Hampton location.
In the letter, Bell said the officers tried to arrest five people inside the truck and saw several people with guns — including 24-year-old DeAndre Bethea, who moved from the back to the driver’s seat and drove toward the officers.
Howser and Craighill began firing, which caused Bethea to crash into a gas pump.
“I don’t think they had any sort of plan of action,” said attorney James Ellenson who is representing the Bethea family. “The lights came on and shooting started simultaneously. That’s when Bethea tried to get away.”
Craighill saw one of the passengers get out with a gun in hand and try to flee, and fired shots in his direction. The surveillance video shows a man get out of the truck and start running from the parking lot. Some of those shots went into the truck, Bell said in the letter.
“I want Howser and Craighill to be held accountable for what they’ve done to my son,” Bethea’s mom Keyanna said. “That’s all I want. Me watching that video and seeing them shoot my son up like that tore me up.”
Bell said Howser fired several more shots into the truck thinking there was an exchange of gunshots between the passengers and Craighill.
Bell cleared Howser and Craighill of any wrongdoing in the shooting, concluding that their use of force was justified. The two officers are now facing a $20 million lawsuit from the mother of Bethea and one of the men who was injured in the shooting.
“I just want justice for my son,” Bethea added.