On Thursday July 17, at around 7:30 AM, Whitehall Township, PA resident Kevin McCullers jumped in his vehicle for a quick trip to Dunkin’ Donuts. At that moment, two Pennsylvania constables arrived to serve a warrant on McCullers for his failure to pay 31 parking tickets. According to testimony by McCullers’ girlfriend, he was surprised by the officers, who arrived just as he was pulling out of the driveway. NBC Philadelphia is reporting that the Pennsylvania constables, alleging that McCullers attempted to run them over, opened fire. One officer’s bullet hit McCullers, who suffered a single gunshot wound to the back, leaving him paralyzed. He may never walk again. Another bullet, fired by the second officer, hit McCullers’ tire.
Hafeezah Muhammed, McCullers’ girlfriend and the mother of his 11-year-old son, witnessed the incident and told NBC Philadelphia, “They never knocked on the door. No, nothing. I just heard the gunshots. He pulled the car out of the garage and all I heard were gunshots… For someone to get shot on the way to Dunkin’ Donuts, unarmed, for parking tickets… it’s insane.” According to Lehigh Valley Live, Muhammed said that, following the shooting, she heard one officer say, “I got him.” She also alleged that the officers failed to call emergency services for the wounded McCullers, forcing her to call 911 on her own.
According to Whitehall Township Mayor Edward Hozza, Jr., the constable that fired the paralyzing shot claimed that McCullers attempted to run him over, thus justifying the shooting. Authorities are currently investigating the incident to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified. Hafeezah Muhammed indicated that McCullers had, on a previous occasion, slipped out the back door when constables showed up to serve the warrant for unpaid parking tickets, possibly causing officers to consider McCullers a flight risk.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin told NBC Philadelphia, “I’m frankly a bit disturbed by the fact that there would be a shooting in connection with attempting to serve parking tickets… Although [elected constables] receive training, they really operate under no one’s direct supervision, and that I wish was something that could be cured.” Martin also expressed his view that the whole incident could have been avoided had McCullers entered into a payment plan for the outstanding parking tickets. According to The Daily Caller, District Attorney Jim Martin, who would not identify the constable who fired the paralyzing shot, plans to thoroughly examine the details of the shooting and may consider issuing criminal charges against the constables, McCullers, or all three parties, depending on the results of the investigation.