Woman: Firefighter pulled gun on her at crash site


By Bryan Mims, WRAL reporter

Riegelwood, N.C. — Video of a volunteer firefighter pointing a gun at a driver over the weekend has sparked outrage on Facebook, with some commenters calling for his arrest.

A weekend crash in eastern Columbus County prompted firefighters from the Acme Delco Riegelwood Fire Department to block the two westbound lanes of U.S. Highway 74/76 with a firetruck to secure the scene for the State Highway Patrol.

In a video recorded and posted by Tae DeLeon, a firefighter, identified as Jeff Sherwood, pointed a gun at the front of her car.

“Go ahead and film all you want,” Sherwood told her in the video.

DeLeon responded by yelling obscenities, telling him to get away from her car.

Brianna Grotzinger, who witnessed the encounter, said DeLeon drove full-speed at the crash site and tried to get around the firetruck by driving onto the highway median. She said she then saw the firefighter with gun drawn.

“He came around the firetruck, [and] he then pointed his gun out because he thought he was about to get hit by this car,” Grotzinger said Monday. “He told her to turn her vehicle off and stay put until the state trooper got there.”

DeLeon didn’t respond Monday to WRAL News’ requests for comment.

Sherwood, who openly carries a gun, said he couldn’t comment about what happened, other than to say he was scared.

Acme Delco Riegelwood Fire Chief Steve Camlin declined to comment on the incident, other than to say there’s more to the story than the online video.

DeLeon said on Facebook that the Highway Patrol couldn’t do anything about the incident because no trooper witnessed the encounter.

The Highway Patrol said Monday that the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office would handle any investigation. Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Michele Tatum said DeLeon hasn’t filed an incident report.

Ed Brinson, deputy director of the North Carolina State Firefighters Association, said state law doesn’t prohibit firefighters from carrying guns and that each department must make its own policies. State law does prevent paramedics from carrying firearms.