Bunnell, FL – Video captured the moment a convicted felon pulled a gun on a deputy during a traffic stop in Flagler County on Thursday (video below).
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on their official Facebook page that said the incident began on Aug. 16 when a Deputy J. Gibson Smith pulled over Alphonso Brooks for a stop sign violation.
Flagler County Sheriff’s K9 Deputy Jonathan Duenas and Bunnell Police Officer Matthew Hirschi arrived to back up the first deputy, and Deputy Duenas deployed K9 Valor to do a narcotics search on the exterior of Brooks’ vehicle.
K9 Valor indicated the possible presence of drugs inside the vehicle, and so Deputy Duenas explained the alert to Brooks, the video showed.
Bodycam video showed as Brooks told Deputy Duenas that he didn’t have any drugs in the vehicle, and said that his wife was the only other person who had been in the vehicle.
“This is my work vehicle, man,” Brooks told the deputy.
He said he didn’t even smoke weed, the video showed.
“Listen, I understand that. But I’m trying to ask you if there’s any other reason why you think my dog would have alerted to this vehicle?” Deputy Duenas asked.
Brooks insisted again that there were no drugs in the vehicle, the bodycam showed.
Deputy Duenas explained to Brooks that K9 Valor’s alert gave authorities probably cause to search his vehicle, and asked him to step out of it.
“So I’m going to ask that you step out, and I’m going to make sure that you don’t have any weapons on you. I’m just going to pat you down, okay?” the deputy explained in the video.
Brooks proceeded to light a fresh cigarette, and then made as if to get out of the car.
The deputy stood back to allow the man to exit his vehicle, and politely told Brooks that he could keep his cigarette, the video showed.
But Brooks did not immediately stand up. Instead, he turned sideways and put his feet outside the vehicle, and then he scooting forward awkwardly twice.
Then he leaned forward and looked back behind the police vehicle, as if to see who else was around, the video showed.
“Man, there’s too many g------ned cops out there, boy. I’m scared, man,” Brooks said.
Deputy Duenas told Brooks to step out of the car, and as the driver began to do so, his expression changed, the video showed.
As he stood, Deputy Smith and Officer Hirshi could see Brooks reach back into the driver’s seat and grab and a firearm with his right hand, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s statement.
“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,” the statement read.
Deputy Smith began yelling “gun gun gun!” as a warning to the other officers, the video showed.
At that point, Deputy Duenas pinned the suspect up against the frame of the vehicle, causing Brooks to drop the gun to the ground, the department’s statement said.
“Listen to me, I will f--king kill you,” Deputy Duenas told Brooks in the video. “Are you insane?”
Then he told the others to come assist him with taking Brooks into custody.
“This encounter could have quickly become a deputy involved shooting caused by the suspect’s actions,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “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.”
“I’m just so proud of our people because they’re well trained, they know that the use of deadly force is the last resort,” Sheriff Rick Staly told Flagler Live. “But quite often these cases occur are the result of the suspect’s actions, which could have been the case last night.”
Police recovered Brooks’ weapon at the scene and said his .32-caliber handgun was not loaded, prompting speculation that he may have been attempting suicide-by-cop, according to Flagler Live.
The police report made no mention of any drugs having been found in the vehicle, Flagler Live reported.
Police arrested Brooks on charges that included 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. He was being held at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility on a $50,000 bond.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office statement said that Brooks had two prior felony convictions – one for an aggravated battery conviction in 2002, and another for attempted child molestation in a case involving a child younger than 16 in 1997.
Brooks has done three separate prison stints, the last of which ended in 2010, Flagler Live reported.
Watch the incident from the perspective of Deputy Duenas’ bodycam in the video below: