Featured image: Doris and Theotis Jr. Kindell hold a picture of their son in front of Moses Cone Hospital where their son is in stable condition. (photo by Sayaka Matsuoka)
Updated Aug. 26, 4:15 p.m.: The Greensboro Police Department released body-won camera footage from the evening and captures footage where Kindell admits to shooting himself.
Updated Aug. 25 7:45 p.m.: The Greensboro Police Department requested the release of body-worn camera footage on Tuesday evening from the officers that were on the scene.
“I’m telling you, the police shot me.”
Those are the words spoken by Theotis Kindell III on Monday in a video sent to Triad City Beat.
“They shot me because they couldn’t stop me,” Kindell says in the video.
On the night of Aug. 18, Kindell suffered a gunshot wound near the Super 8 Motel in Greensboro off of Meadowview Road. According to a Greensboro Police Department press release, Kindell was wounded after he was pursued by police officers during a traffic stop.
Ron Glenn, the public information officer for the department, said on Monday that Kindell was a passenger in a car that was stopped for “equipment violation on the vehicle,” and that Kindell got out of the car and fled on foot. As police pursued him through a parking lot next to the Super 8, a gunshot went off and Glenn said the police found Kindell with a self-inflicted gunshot wound through his torso and a gun nearby. A second gun was also recovered at the scene.
But that’s not what happened according to Kindell and another person who was on the scene at the time.
On Monday, Kindell told his family, who visited him at the Moses Cone Hospital that he was shot by police. In the video, which was sent to TCB by Kindell’s mother Doris, she asks her son whether he was shot by police and to give a thumbs up if he was shot. Kindell, who lies weakly in a hospital bed, connected to tubes, raises his right thumb and then says, “I’m telling you, the police shot me.”
Surveillance video footage from the Super 8 Motel captured from a camera pointing towards the office park shows what appears to be a white police officer exiting a police car that has stopped at the Super 8 Motel entrance at 11:23 p.m. After exiting the vehicle, the officer runs through the Super 8 parking lot, heading towards the office park. As he runs, the officer extends his right arm in front of him before disappearing into some bushes. It’s unclear whether the officer is holding a gun but in another screen that captures footage from right outside of the motel doorway, a customer can be seen coming out of the front doors and then turning towards the office park at the exact moment the officer is running with his arm extended.
Updated (8/26): On Wednesday afternoon, the Greensboro police department released body-worn camera footage that shows Kindell admitting that he shot himself.
“Are you hurt?,” asks an officer, at the 5 minute 55 second mark.
“Yes,” Kindell responds.
“Did you shoot yourself?” asks the same officer.
“Yes,” Kindell responds again.
Accounts from two individuals who were present at the scene offer little clarity.
Maranda Gilmer, a homeless woman who occasionally sleeps in her car in the Super 8 Motel parking lot, told TCB that she saw Kindell running through the Four Seasons Executive Center parking lot next to the motel. She said she saw Kindell run through the office parking lot and disappear behind the buildings and that’s when Gilmer heard a gunshot go off. She then saw Kindell reappear, run back through the parking lot, take off his shirt, and then lay face-down on the ground. Gilmer said Kindell was being pursued by a white police officer.
Frazier Lettley was hanging out at the back of the motel when he says he saw Kindell running through the office-park parking lot.
“I see a guy jogging down the hill and then I heard a shot, ‘Pow!’,” Lettley told TCB. “At first I thought it was dogs barking.”
Like Gilmer, Lettley said he didn’t see a gun or anyone aiming when he heard the shot. After the gunshot, Lettley said Kindell fell to the ground twice and seemed like he was in a lot of pain.
“When I was looking at him, I don’t see how he could have shot himself,” Lettley said.
Immediately after he was shot, Lettley said dozens of officers descended into the parking lot.
“They came from every direction,” he said. “It was a matter of seconds.”
Glenn, the public information officer, said 27 officers responded to the scene during the event.
“If it’s a traffic stop and there’s that many cops, that tells you something,” said Jeremiah Cotten, Kindell’s cousin.
“It’s all the same,” said Kindell’s father, Theotis Kindell Jr. “That’s why I said it was profiling.”
“It happens too much,” Doris added.
Now, Kindell is in the hospital in critical but stable condition, according to his mother, and upon release will be charged and arrested. Glenn said Kindell was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, trafficking a Schedule II drug, possession with intent to sell a Schedule II drug and resisting a public officer.
“At this point, based on the information that we have, he was not shot by a police officer,” Glenn said on Monday. “They heard a discharge and they found the victim suffering from a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted…. Those are the details of the investigation that we have so far.”
Glenn did not say what kind of guns were recovered at the scene.
Kindell’s mother and father flew from Florida to visit their son in the hospital on Aug. 21. They said that they were never notified about their son being injured and they found out through Kindell’s girlfriend, KaSandra Forbes. Doris said that the first inclination they had that something was wrong was when she couldn’t get in touch with her son for two days. When she heard what happened from Forbes, she immediately bought plane tickets to Greensboro to see her son.
“The nurses said he got shot in his torso,” Doris told Triad City Beat. “It ricocheted off his kidney and the bullet went into this butt. He’s having dialysis done.”
Like his girlfriend and Gilmer, Kindell’s parents don’t believe that their son accidentally shot himself either.
“My son would not shoot hisself for a fact,” Doris said.
“I don’t even think he had a gun,” said his dad.
On Monday, Forbes confirmed that she and Kindell were in possession of two guns but said both belonged to her and they had agreed to never bring the guns out at night because of heavy police presence around the Hotel Quality Inn where they were staying. Forbes said she had a Glock 9 that was fully loaded and a .357 with a camouflage handle that was loaded but didn’t have a bullet in the chamber.
“Even if he accidentally pulled the trigger, there wouldn’t have been a bullet to fire,” Forbes said.
She said she believes the guns were still in their hotel room the evening Kindell was injured.
The family said they found it strange that Kindell took off his shirt during the incident.
“It’s like he was saying, ‘I’m clear, I’m clean, I don’t have anything. I don’t have a gun,’” Doris said.
A picture provided to TCB by the family shows an entry bullet wound in Theotis Kindell III’s right torso several inches below his chest. Kindell’s family said they don’t believe that Kindell could have shot himself and that they want clear answers.
“This was profiling,” Theotis Kindell Jr. said.
“We need to see some sort of evidence,” said Cotten. “We want to see the police body camera.”
According to Glenn, neither a police complaint nor a request to see police body-camera footage has been made yet. Glenn also did not offer any details about items recovered from Kindell and Forbes’ hotel room.
The family, who went back to Florida on Monday, said they’ll be back in a few weeks to demand answers.
“We just need something to validate the cops’ story,” Cotten said.
“And why didn’t they contact us?” asked Kindell’s father. “The address on his ID is the same as mine…. It’s like we would have never found out.”
“Unless it’s like some type of cover up,” Cotten said.