The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Aug. 17 that Alphonso Brooks, a convicted felon, allegedly pulled the weapon after an officer told him that his K-9 needed to perform a narcotics search of the vehicle.
Flagler County Sheriff’s K9 Deputy Duenas and Bunnell Police Officer Hirschi arrived to give backup to Deputy Smith for a stop sign violation, according to police.
The K-9 indicated that there might be drugs inside Brooks’s vehicle, and an officer explained to him that another search is warranted. He then asked Brooks to get out of the vehicle. In the video, Brooks then lights up a cigarette and can be seen hesitating and looking around before he allegedly draws his weapon.
“Deputy Smith and Officer Hirschi observed Brooks reach back into the driver’s seat and grab a firearm in his hand as he began exiting the vehicle and attempted to conceal it from law enforcement’s view. As he stood up, the grip of the pistol was grasped in his right palm with his fingers wrapped around the grip, consistent with how a firearm is fired,” said the sheriff’s office in a statement.
Smith then yells, “Gun! Gun! Gun!” and draws his weapon.
Duenas then pins Brooks against the car as his weapon becomes dislodged and falls to the ground.
Brooks was arrested for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and carrying a concealed firearm. Brooks was sent to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility on $50,000 bond.
“This encounter could have quickly become a deputy-involved shooting caused by the suspect’s actions,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “Deputies Duenas and Smith along with Bunnell Officer Hirshi showed great restraint and are safe because of their training and teamwork. This could have had a very different outcome with the death of Brooks or a deputy of officer.”
Brooks was convicted of lewd conduct in 1997 and again convicted of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in 2002, according to the sheriff’s office.
Traffic Stops Dangerous for Police
The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund (pdf) says that traffic stops are notoriously dangerous for police officers in the United States. The leading causes for officers being shot and killed in 2017 was when they were responding to domestic disturbances and conducting traffic stops, its annual report said.
“The leading circumstances of firearms-related fatalities were officers responding to domestic disturbances and conducting traffic stops,” the memorial fund stated.
And, according to the most recent figures published by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “A greater percentage of male drivers (12%) than female drivers (8%) were stopped by police during 2011.” It adds: “In 2011, about 3% of traffic stops led to a search of the driver, the vehicle, or both. Police were more likely to search male drivers (4%) than female drivers (2%).”
Video Credit: Flagler County Sheriff’s Office