Sheriff Apologizes to Black Pastor in Virginia Following Arrest

June 15, 2020 Updated: June 15, 2020

A Virginia sheriff apologized to a black pastor who was arrested after calling 911 on a group of people who were threatening to kill him after they tried to dump a refrigerator on his property.

Five people were charged with hate crimes and assault by mob, officials told WHSV.

Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter made the apology to Leon K. McCray Sr. of Woodstock on Friday after McCray explained what happened during a church event at the Lighthouse Church & Marketplace Ministries International, according to The Associated Press.

McCray said he confronted the group after they tried to dump a refrigerator into a dumpster that he owns. Five people ultimately confronted him, telling him that “they don’t give a darn” about “my black life and the Black Lives Matter stuff,” adding that they would “kill” him.

McCray said they retreated after he drew his legally concealed firearm before calling 911. Arriving deputies took his gun and handcuffed him as the group yelled epithets at him, AP reported.

“Really to save my life, I pulled my gun,” he said, reported WUSA9. “And I pointed it down to the ground in hopes they would back off.”

Carter, the sheriff, said that “Mr. McCray was defending himself, and I believe Mr. McCray.”

Elaborating further, the sheriff said that he was disappointed in the situation.

“I believe if I had been there, this would have gone in a totally different direction,” Carter said.

Donny Richard Salyers, Dennis James Salyers, Farrah Lee Salyers, Christopher Kevin Sharp, and Amanda Dawn Salyers are now being held in police without bond, officials told AP.