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CMPD releases body camera video of deadly shooting in south Charlotte

Brenda Donahue was shot and killed by CMPD officer Brandon Graham after firing multiple shots at officers attempting to serve an involuntary commitment order.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released body camera footage Tuesday from a deadly police shooting last August in south Charlotte

The video from officer Brandon Graham was released, showing the moments that led up to the shooting of Brenda Donahue. Multiple officers were attempting to serve an involuntary commitment order for Donahue when she fired shots, striking officer Lauren Ehlke. Ehlke was not injured during the incident, but the bullet was lodged in her camera. Because of the damage, none of the footage from Ehlke's camera was recovered. 

CMPD was called to a home on St. Croix Lane around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2022, to serve an involuntary commitment order to take Donahue to a mental health facility. 

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Donahue allegedly left an upstairs bedroom with a handgun and looked over the stairs in the officer's direction. Graham fired at Donahue but missed. He then fired another shot, hitting her. 

"Shots fired. Subject down, I can't see her hands," Graham says in the video. "See that? Top of the stairs. I can't see her. She pointed the gun directly at me down over the awning. Right at me."

A man who let officers inside the home to talk with Donahue then asked to come in. The officers advise the man to stay outside and call for backup and Medic. A few seconds later, the officers discuss what happened and if they were shot. 

About a minute later, Graham walks up the stairs to give Donahue medical attention. The officers move her to a bedroom where there's more room. She has a gunshot wound to the head. The officers determined Donahue did not have a pulse and begin CPR until Medic shows up to take over. 

CMPD said over the course of its investigation, it was determined Donahue had access to other weapons in the home. The officers didn't know there were weapons when they entered the home. 

"Officers showed restraint in not blindly returning fire into a closed doorway," Sgt. Steven Winterhalter said in a video with CMPD commentary. "This is consistent with the training they receive at CMPD."

The shooting remains under investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. All of the officers involved will remain on paid leave until the state's investigation, as well as CMPD's internal investigation, concludes. 

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If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.

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