Body cam video from fatal Gaston County Sheriff's Office pursuit

The following body camera video was provided by the Gaston County District Attorney's Office regarding a fatal Gaston County Sheriff's Office pursuit on July 14, 2019, on Rankin Avenue in Gastonia. Be advised this video contains graphic content and explicit language. Portions of the video have been edited for graphic content.
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Before deputies ever knew a Gaston County Sheriff’s Office pursuit resulted in the death of one pedestrian and serious injury of another, the man accused of leading officers on the chase feared the worst.

“Did I hit somebody?” Joshua Todd Soule asked Deputy Tristan Buchanan after the July 14 chase on Rankin Avenue, as revealed in body camera footage released by the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office on Friday.

“No, you didn’t hit anybody,” Buchanan said. “Not that I know of.”

But as Buchanan led the Hickory man on foot through a backyard and back into the street, Soule couldn’t get the thought off his mind.

“Please God, don’t let nobody be hurt,” he said, to himself.

“Did you hit somebody?” Buchanan asked.

“I don’t know. I think so,” Soule said, trailing off as he answered.

Investigators later determined Soule struck 29-year-old Antrel Garnigan and 47-year-old Shawn Smith. Garnigan died at the scene, and Smith suffered serious injuries.

While Buchanan and Soule were in a backyard near the street, Deputy Ronnie Thomas II encountered a group of neighbors convinced it was the pursuing deputies who hit the two people.

“Y’all hit my (expletive) brother, man,” a neighbor told Thomas.

The footage shows Thomas refuting that accusation, and telling other officers that the group was trying to blame law enforcement.

“The mob is trying to say that we hit him,” Thomas told another officer.

The deputies were trying to stop Soule because they suspected he was driving intoxicated.

Video showed an open can of Heineken beer in the car, and officers found a bag of marijuana on Soule at the scene.

Soule, who had gotten out of his vehicle by the time deputies arrived, told them his brakes “didn’t work. That’s why I pulled out right.”

After being told he actually sped up, Soule claimed it was “just because I was scared.”

A Highway Patrol wreck report showed Soule was going about 70 mph when he allegedly hit the two pedestrians. The speed limit on that stretch of road is 35 mph.

Neighbors remained convinced that it was deputies who collided with the two men. District Attorney Locke Bell and Sheriff Alan Cloninger held a community meeting to tackle questions on the incident.

Body camera footage shows deputies leaving with Soule in the patrol car to take him to jail. Cloninger said at the meeting that they did so out of safety, because “the crowd was still upset.”

Highway Patrol and the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office analyzed the deputy car and determined the deputy car didn’t hit anybody.

Soule was charged with second-degree murder, driving while impaired and fleeing to elude arrest in a motor vehicle. A judge assigned him a $2 million bond.

Soule was later taken to Central Prison in Raleigh for safekeeping after threatening to take his life, according to court documents.

The body camera footage was released following a court petition filed by a Charlotte television reporter.



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By: ThisIsButter (35022.60)

Tags: Cops chasing arrest, police chase

Location: Gaston County, NC, USA