February 8, 2023

A North Carolina police officer was saved by her own body camera after she was shot at during an attempt to serve a 60-year-old woman with an involuntary commitment order.

The shooting took place on August 22 and was released Tuesday after a request by the media to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Officer Lauren Ehlke was with two other officers to serve the order, which gives officers to right to get people who are suffering from mental health issues and crisis treatment when they appear to be a danger to others.

Ehlke and Officers Brandon Graham and Kristian Kurtzke arrived at Brenda Donohue’s house in south Charlotte at around 5:30pm. 

A North Carolina police officer was saved by her own body camera (pictured) after she was shot at during an attempt to serve a 60-year-old woman with an involuntary commitment order

The body camera footage shows the officers speaking with a male resident who lives with Donahue standing just outside for a couple of minutes, informing the police that Donahue is asleep. 

In a video statement, officials said they were not informed beforehand that Donahue had a gun.  

The police then tell the man that Donahue, by law, has to leave with them, even if they need to use handcuffs. 

The man then leads the authorities into the house, walking up the stairs showing them her room, which has a closed door heading inside. 

The three officers attempt to speak to Donahue without opening the door, with one asking, ‘It’s the police, ma’am. Can you open up the door?’ 

Just 15 seconds after entering the house and trying to make contact with the woman, Donahue can be heard denying their request, when all of a sudden a gunshot is heard. 

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The first shot hits Ehlke in the chest, knocking off her body camera, which appears to have saved her from serious injury.

Officer Lauren Ehlke (Pictured) Was With Two Other Officers To Serve The Order, Which Gives Officers To Right To Get People Who Are Suffering From Mental Health Issues And Crises Treatment When They Appear To Be A Danger To Others

Officer Lauren Ehlke (pictured) was with two other officers to serve the order, which gives officers to right to get people who are suffering from mental health issues and crises treatment when they appear to be a danger to others

A Male Resident Leads The Authorities Into The House After Speaking With Them For Two Minutes

A male resident leads the authorities into the house after speaking with them for two minutes

The Officers Begin Walking Up The Stairs Showing Them Her Room, Which Has A Closed Door Heading Inside. The Three Officers Attempt To Speak To Donahue Without Opening The Door, With One Asking, 'It'S The Police, Ma'Am. Can You Open Up The Door?'

The officers begin walking up the stairs showing them her room, which has a closed door heading inside. The three officers attempt to speak to Donahue without opening the door, with one asking, ‘It’s the police, ma’am. Can you open up the door?’

Just 15 Seconds After Entering The House And Trying To Make Contact With The Woman, Donahue Can Be Heard Denying Their Request, When All Of A Sudden A Gunshot Is Heard. The First Shot Hits Ehlke In The Chest, Knocking Off Her Body Camera, Which Appears To Have Saved Her From Serious Injury

Just 15 seconds after entering the house and trying to make contact with the woman, Donahue can be heard denying their request, when all of a sudden a gunshot is heard. The first shot hits Ehlke in the chest, knocking off her body camera, which appears to have saved her from serious injury

The Shooting Took Place On August 22 And Was Released Tuesday After A Request By The Media To The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

The shooting took place on August 22 and was released Tuesday after a request by the media to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

The officers then took cover elsewhere in the house, heading down the stairs from Donahue’s room. 

About 30 to 40 seconds later, Donahue gets out of the room with her weapon and looks over the railing. 

Graham, after telling one of the other officers that Donahue was holding a gun and pointing it in his direction, shoots at the 60-year-old woman, in a moment not seen on the bodycam footage. 

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The man living with Donahue is then heard asking ‘Did you shoot her?’

Graham responds: ‘She had her gun pointed at me, get outside sir, now!’

1674717048 340 North Carolina Police Officer Saved After Body Camera Stops Bullet

The officers then took cover elsewhere in the house, heading down the stairs from Donahue’s room

1674717048 958 North Carolina Police Officer Saved After Body Camera Stops Bullet

The video footage shows Donahue (pictured) bleeding profusely and lying completely still near her bedroom

Officers Then Tended To Donahue, Who Had Been Shot In The Head, Until Medics Could Get To The Scene

Officers then tended to Donahue, who had been shot in the head, until medics could get to the scene

Officers then tended to Donahue, who had been shot in the head, until medics could get to the scene. 

The video footage shows Donahue bleeding profusely and lying completely still near her bedroom.  

Sergeant Steven Winterhalter said in the explainer of the bodycam footage that they felt Donahue was an active threat after firing at the officers. 

He added that the three cops followed their training by not firing back right after Donahue shot at them.  

Donahue was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead six days later.  

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has completed its investigation of the shooting but the local district attorney’s office is still investigating, according to the Charlotte Observer.