KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A man shot and killed himself while in police custody. Now the family is filing a lawsuit against the Kings Mountain Police Department alleging they did not follow protocol.
John Roger White Jr. was being booked into the county jail, Saturday, when he pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head, now his family wants answers.
“They did not pat him down, they did not frisk him, from what we understand they did not place him in cuffs,” said Ronald Ingle, the family’s attorney.
White was pulled over on Canterbury Rd. around 3:00a.m. then arrested for possession of narcotics. According to Ingle, White had served 6 years for drug charges and made it known to his family that he would never go back to jail.
White sent his wife a cryptic text before he took his life. “Not verbatim but something to the effect of I love you and I’ll always love you and please let my daughter know I love both of you and don’t ever doubt that.”
White was taken to a nearby hospital, then air-lifted to CMC where he later died.
“I don’t know if it was a rookie officer, I don’t know what happened but to put a man in the back of a cruiser and for him to kill himself, that’s just an egregious break down of protocol.”
Kings Mountain Police Chief Jerry Tessneer released this statement:
“Unfortunately on today’s date February 24, 2018 the Kings Mountain Police Department is saddened to report an in-custody self-inflicted gun shot occurred. The incident is currently and actively being investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.“
It’s not clear if the arresting officer has been placed on administrative leave. In the meantime, Ingle said the family is moving forward with their suit.
“The basis for the wrongful death lawsuit is that you had an inmate in the early stages, the preliminary stages of being an inmate, in custody of trained law enforcement. But for the breach of protocol this man would arguably be alive today.”