Crime & Courts

‘They just said he tried to kill their mom:’ 911 tapes released from CMPD shooting

Recordings of a series of 911 calls released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Monday apparently capture the escape of several teenagers from a northeast Charlotte house where police shot and killed a man early Friday.

In one recording, the caller ignores the 911 dispatcher for the first several seconds. Instead, she can be heard talking to someone off the line.

“Get in the house,” she said. “Get in the house. He’s not here.”

When the caller started talking to the dispatcher, she only had some pieces of information. She said she’d heard a gunshot.

“Please send the police right now, I have three kids in my house,” she said. “I can hear her screaming, and her kids are terrified.”

The dispatcher asked the woman — apparently a neighbor — if she knew what was going on.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “They just said he tried to kill their mom. And I heard a gunshot. I heard screaming, and I heard a gunshot.”

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg police got to the scene on Ernest Russell Court, they heard gunshots coming from inside, according to a CMPD news release Friday.

A woman who had been shot in the leg came out of the house and told CMPD officers that her sister and her brother-in-law were still inside, police said. She was worried her brother-in-law was going to kill her sister, according to police. The brother-in-law was later identified as 45-year-old Delano Williams.

Police went to the back of the house, where they encountered Williams, according to the CMPD release.

There, Officer John Juhasz “perceived an imminent, lethal threat” and shot Williams, who was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to CMPD. Police found a gun at the scene and believe it was in Williams’ possession, although more details were not available Monday.

Williams’ wife was worried about the fact that Williams owned a gun and had tried to hide the gun from him, she wrote as she filed for a domestic violence protection order the week of the shooting. In court records, she wrote that Williams harassed her and made threats.

Another 911 call came from someone who had run to safety at a neighbor’s house. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Friday that one 911 caller talked about her father having a gun and threatening her aunt, but identities of 911 callers are censored from the calls CMPD releases to the public.

Police also said three teenagers who were at the house at the beginning of the incident left before officers arrived.

That call started with background noise, including people talking about a gun and shots.

The dispatcher asked the caller if anyone was shot.

“I don’t know. I ran out of the house,” the caller said.

The dispatcher told the caller that police were pulling up before ending the call.

Three more calls came from people who had heard gunshots in the neighborhood, which neighbors described as quiet in the hours after the shooting.

“This just freaked me out, obviously,” one caller said.

The 911 calls released by CMPD Monday came just after midnight Friday. Police officers also responded to the northeast Charlotte house after 8 p.m. Thursday, when they got a call about a “domestic disturbance.”

When police arrived, they learned that the person they were looking for had already left. Hours later, the panicked calls about a gun began.

The Charlotte Observer requested a recording of the 8 p.m. 911 call Friday but did not receive a response by 5:15 p.m. Monday.

Juhasz has been placed on paid administrative leave while CMPD conducts separate, parallel investigations of the shooting: one criminal investigation and one internal investigation to see whether he followed department policy. The two investigations are standard procedure for the department after a police shooting.

Williams is the third person killed by a CMPD officer this year and the 14th since CMPD Chief Kerr Putney took office in summer 2015.

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Jane Wester is a Charlotte native and has been covering criminal justice and public safety for The Charlotte Observer since May 2017.