September 9th, 2006 10:23 AM
What not to do with your weapon:
Don't point it at a policeman.
Was worker trying to toss gun?
Cell tower employee may have realized he drew weapon on police officer, who couldn't tell he wasn't a threat
In the seconds before he was shot to death in July, cell phone tower worker Anthony Wayne Furr may have realized that he had drawn a weapon on a police officer and may have been trying to drop his handgun, sources have told the Observer.
But they believe Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Anthony Payne would have had no way to know that. The 10-year police veteran fired when he saw Furr raising his hand and the gun pointing in his direction, authorities have said.
Payne fired the fatal shots after responding to a 911 call and confronting Furr at a tower base station off Albemarle Road in southeast Charlotte.
Furr, a 41-year-old Stanly County resident and father of two, was shot inside the base station's shed. His handgun was found outside the building a few feet from the door, according to the sources.
The location of Furr's gun led authorities to believe that Furr may have realized a police officer was at the shed's door and may have been tossing his handgun outside when he was shot to death, sources said.
"He was getting ready to toss the gun out to show the officer that he was unarming himself," one source said.
Police investigative files are confidential. Authorities generally don't talk in detail about their investigations and findings. The sources agreed to talk about Furr's fatal shooting only if their identities remain anonymous.
Investigators traced the ownership of the handgun police say Furr pulled from behind his back during the deadly encounter with Payne and learned that it belonged to an acquaintance of Furr's, according to sources. Furr and the acquaintance had exchanged guns, the sources said.
Police have said Payne identified himself as a police officer and repeatedly demanded that Furr put down the gun. But noise from equipment inside the building may have kept Furr from hearing clearly.
Payne had also told Furr not to move and fired his service pistol when Furr raised the gun in the direction of the officer and walked toward him, according to police.
Mecklenburg District Attorney Peter Gilchrist announced Tuesday that Payne will not be prosecuted in connection with the July 20 killing.
"Officer Anthony Payne, responding to a call, encountered an armed citizen who, facing the officer, drew a handgun and was shot and killed by the officer," Gilchrist said in a statement. "There is no evidence showing that any criminal offense was committed by Officer Payne."
In an interview with the Observer, Gilchrist talked about his conclusion that no crime had been committed.
"Were the actions reasonable for the police officer to make? I concluded they were," Gilchrist said. "The police officer encountered an armed citizen who drew a weapon and pointed it towards him.
"A police officer is entitled to use deadly force if he reasonably believes deadly force is being applied against him."
Asked whether authorities thought Furr knew Payne was a police officer, Gilchrist replied: "I don't know that anybody knows what Mr. Furr knew... We don't know what Mr. Furr saw or didn't see. We do not know what was in his mind."
But Gilchrist said the base station where Furr was working was lit and that Payne was wearing his police uniform.
Gilchrist said Furr had kept his gun in a holster stuck in the back of his pants. "It's clear the gun was drawn," the prosecutor said.
Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Marsha Goodenow, who heads the DA's homicide prosecutors, reviewed the police investigative file and visited the cell phone tower base station.
Goodenow was reluctant to talk about the investigation's findings but said she reached the same conclusion, as Gilchrist had, that no crime was committed in Furr's killing.
"This was a misperception by both the police officer and Mr. Furr...," Goodenow said. "There's nothing to suggest that Mr. Furr was anything other than a good man trying to make a living. And he was afraid. This was a terrible tragedy."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Cam Selvey, the department's spokesman, said: "We recognize this as an all-around tragic situation. It's a tragedy for Mr. Furr and his family. And it's a tragedy for the police department."
Payne, a patrol officer, was placed on temporary administrative duty, standard procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting. He is now back on patrol.
The internal affairs investigation into the shooting is continuing.
Lew Smith, an attorney representing Furr's family, said the family was not surprised by Gilchrist's decision based on the information they understand was submitted to the prosecutor by police.
Smith, who has known the Furr family for more than 30 years, said he and the family have been invited to meet with Gilchrist and Goodenow to discuss the decision not to prosecute.
"We hope to do that," Smith said. "Wayne's family is interested in learning as much as they can about the events that night that led to Wayne's death while he was working at his job. Mr. Furr's family are among Stanly County's finest people, and they are still struggling to cope with Wayne's death and understand why it happened."
Furr was working on the tower off Albemarle Road during the early morning hours because that's when such work is least likely to disturb most cell phone customers. He was making a routine upgrade to the network.
Sources told the Observer that Furr might have been afraid he would be robbed that night.
A man in a neighboring business spotted Furr's truck and called police at 1:12 a.m. about a suspicious vehicle backed up to the tower's base. The man yelled for Furr to leave the area.
The early-morning encounter in the dark with the neighbor, sources said, may have heightened Furr's worries about being robbed.
Here's what police say happened after the 911 call:
Three police officers responded. One of the officers talked with the man who had called police and was told that the white truck, parked near the cell phone station, did not belong there. The caller also reported seeing a man walking toward the building.
Officer Payne and another officer began searching the area for the man. The door to the building was open and lights were on inside.
Payne looked through the doorway and saw a man, later identified as Furr, inside.
Payne identified himself as a police officer and told Furr not to move. Furr reached behind his back and pulled out a handgun. Furr refused to obey the officer's repeated commands to put down the gun.
Furr raised the gun in the direction of the officer and walked toward him. Payne fired his service pistol.
At 1:35 a.m., police radioed that a person had been shot. Furr was pronounced dead at 1:42 a.m.
© 2006 Charlotte Observer and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
Last edited by lowflyer; September 9th, 2006 at 12:35 PM.
Reason: Added copyright info.
Whatever doesn't kill you postpones the inevitable.
September 9th, 2006 10:32 AM
Don't Point Your Weapon...
at ANYTHING you're not willing to destroy....Rule#?
The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member[/B]
September 9th, 2006 10:35 AM
September 9th, 2006 11:39 AM
Tragic but the LEO had little to no choice.
One should never confuse good fortune with good training.
Illegitimus Non Carborundum.
In God we trust.
September 9th, 2006 11:57 AM
Interesting Thanks For Posting It.
Full Story Added Here & Link Eliminated to save members from picking up those pop-up cookies.
September 9th, 2006 12:04 PM
September 9th, 2006 12:07 PM
What is "Observer"? Where did this story come from??
Originally Posted by lowflyer
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.
September 9th, 2006 12:09 PM
September 9th, 2006 12:14 PM
Originally Posted by ccw9mm
It came from a Florida newspaper called, "The Herald." It serves Manatee, Sarasota and Bradenton, FL. You can PM me for the link, if needed.
Last edited by lowflyer; September 9th, 2006 at 12:25 PM.
Whatever doesn't kill you postpones the inevitable.
September 9th, 2006 01:41 PM
I have been in the telcom business since 1992. When I was a contractor (as most of us start our careers) we spent weeks on end in remote locations far from home. There were many times that we worked in locations that having a firearm for protection was encouraged by locals or those that had worked in the area before.
We generally drove non-descript vehicles and since we were contractors, had no banners on our trucks or uniforms that would mark us as employees of the cell comany. (we used to have Contracted to: xxx) on the doors of our trucks, but public image was affected when it was reported that there were 20 contractor trucks outside of a certain juice bar..
Definitely a tragedy that could have been prevented. Seems like a bunch of negative circumstances lined up.
Prayers to the family and to the officer.
September 9th, 2006 05:50 PM
I wonder what the cell company policy on open doors was. While working for ATT and phone company we were told to keep doors closed and let no one inside not authorized, that included police.
I was working on a evening service cut in Glide Oregon and the Police showed up demanding that I open door. I told the Officer that company policy prohibitted me from doing so. I gave the Officer my Managers phone number and went back to work. If the employee had reacted this way he probably would still be alive.
September 12th, 2006 07:26 PM
Raevan, that is what I was thinking, why was the door open.
Most of the time, unless you are in a vault, the policy is to keep all doors closed and locked. This kept everone away from the sensitive equipment and double as a security factor for the techs (those places can get really loud so I can see how this happened and especially if he had on his ears).
Tragic, one closed door and known of this would have happened.
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