CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer is on administrative leave after shooting a man in the leg early-Tuesday morning in south Charlotte on Woodlawn Road near Old Pineville Road.
Police have not released many details on their investigation, however, a witness says he had to run for his life before the officer showed up and intervened.
"There were two guys beating a guy down on the ground and holding him at gunpoint," said John McKee. "I ran over to help and told them to let him go and they pointed the gun at me and told me to get out of there. The guy they were beating on the ground was terrified."
McKee says he and the guy managed to get away and ran across the street to a Days Inn parking lot when gunfire erupted.
"The two guys that were assaulting him opened fire on us," he said.
CMPD say Officer Francine Delano was on patrol in the area and responded immediately.
"There were shots being fired, she overheard them and went to investigate," said CMPD Chief Kerr Putney.
Putney says the officer came across a man with a gun and fired her weapon, hitting him in the leg.
"She saw he was armed and he gave her the impression that her life was being put in jeopardy, an imminent threat," the Chief explained.
The suspect has been identified as Alonzo Edwin Castro, 31; he was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
McKee says the officer had no choice but to shoot.
"One-hundred-percent justifiable by the officer," McKee declared.
CMPD has not said what sparked the initial confrontation or if the second man the witness said was involved in the attack is in custody.
The department launched a new program in an effort to increase public trust, especially when it comes to officer-involved shootings; Open Date Source is now online at www.cmpd.org, giving the public access to data on incidents without filing a formal request.
"It gives the public a one-stop shop where they can go and look at information such as officer- involved shootings and traffic stops," said Major Johnny Jennings.
Officer commendations and public comments about service will also be accessible. This program is coming just weeks after a CMPD officer killed Keith Scott, a shooting that led to days of protests and public outcry for more transparency.
"When you do see something like this that takes place not long after an incident like we had, there's reason to question why it is coming out now, but rest assured this is not something that just came out," said Jennings.
Major Jennings says this program has been in the works for a year. It was one of several recommendations from President Obama's 21st Century Policing Initiative. He says CMPD is in the process of implementing a number of those recommendations.
"I think it is a step, you are talking several pieces to a very large puzzle here and this is one small piece to it, and if we can do something to increase our transparency and to increase public trust, no matter how small that is, I feel like we should be obligated to do so," he asserted.