Two people – a Belmont police officer and a 24-year-old Belmont woman – were injured Monday night when a second Belmont police officer’s gun discharged during a struggle with the woman.
By Tuesday afternoon, Belmont police said both Belmont Officer Randy Berry and the woman, Melissa Verner, 24, of 3260 Lake Point Drive, had been treated and released from Gaston Memorial Hospital.
The incident occurred when Berry and Sgt. Brad Pickert responded to a report of road rage and possible shots fired. A complainant had reported that the driver of a black Honda had been aggressively tailgating and had fired a shot.
The officers tracked down a suspect car at 6:09 p.m. Monday at 3260 Lake Point Drive and encountered two subjects in the driveway, Belmont police said.
The officers drew their guns and told the subjects to get on the ground. The subjects complied, but then Verner emerged from the house and began arguing and cursing the officers, police said. After she refused orders to get on the ground, the two officers tried to detain her. She fought the officers, and as they struggled, Pickert’s 9-mm handgun discharged. Both Berry and the woman were hit by shrapnel in the legs.
Pickert is now on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and Belmont police internal investigators. No charges have been filed, but the circumstances surrounding the road rage report are still under investigation.