The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has said Iaroslav Mosiiuk pointed a hunting rifle before an officer shot and killed him.
But 911 recordings released Monday show that a caller told the dispatcher that the gun was missing a part and that Mosiiuk didn’t know how to assemble the missing piece.
“He can’t put it together,” the woman tells the dispatcher.
About four minutes later, Mosiiuk, a 25-year-old Ukrainian immigrant, was lying wounded in the 1000 block of Justice Avenue in north Charlotte, with a hunting rifle nearby.
The recording appears to raise new questions about whether Officer Brian Walsh was justified when he shot Mosiiuk just before 1 p.m. on March 8.
Attorney Charles Monnett, who is representing Mosiiuk’s family, said that the bolt-action rifle he was allegedly holding couldn’t fire bullets without a part that the family kept hidden in a locked box.
Monnett said the dispatcher failed to relay key information to Walsh and another responding officer, making it difficult for them to respond appropriately.
One recording shows the dispatcher initially reporting a “suicide threat, priority 1. So far, that’s all we have.” Moments later, she gives a description of Mosiiuk’s clothing and says that he is looking for a gun and that the caller says a gun part is missing.
Monnett said he questions why the dispatcher didn’t appear to have a script during the 911 call, which was made by Mosiiuk’s sister.
“It's pitiful communication,” Monnett said. “She should have asked, Do you think he is a danger? Has he ever hurt anyone before? What kind of gun is it? … The officers have no preparation for what they are walking into.”
Walsh, who has been on the force since 2002, has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol while officer-involved shootings are investigated.
The officer believed that he faced an imminent threat when saw Mosiiuk with the rifle, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said.
“I pulled the trigger. I put the shot out. It was me,” Walsh is heard saying in the 911 recordings.
It marked the ninth fatal CMPD shooting since January 2015.
One 911 caller reported that Mosiiuk was behaving erractically. She said Mosiiuk hadn’t slept for days and “was trying to grab my boyfriend’s gun.” Asked whether the suspect was having a mental breakdown or trying to kill himself, the woman said: “I think he’s having a mental breakdown. … He’s screaming he doesn’t want to to live.”
Among the guns Mosiiuk was searching for was a rifle that had been hidden in a box under a bed, the woman said. “He grabbed the rifle under the bed and he tried to load the magazine. The main part, like, part to it, is hidden. We take it apart, like, hide it.”
Police said they encountered him outside the home, where he was shot by Walsh.