Mobile Police Chief James Barber has detailed the gathering of evidence against a teenager shot to death by an officer on Monday night.
Michael Moore, 19, is accused of possessing and reaching for the stolen Smith and Wesson handgun that prompted Officer Harold Hurst, a 3-and-a-half year veteran of the Mobile Police Department, to shoot Moore three times and kill him.
The handgun wasn’t retrieved from the crime scene, which Chief Barber admitted was a “mistake in protocol.” Barber says the gun, which police say was stolen, was transported with Moore on his body and recovered by medical professionals at the hospital.
“As soon as the paramedics got [to the crime scene], they lifted and put him onto the gurney and took off to the emergency room. The weapon had not been removed from the person, Michael Moore, at that point,” Chief Barber said at the press conference.
Family members of Moore tell News 5 they do not believe this part of the story.
Moore is accused of nearly causing a crash when he was pulled over in a vehicle that was reported stolen. Moore was traveling with two juvenile passengers.
Chief Barber says Moore kept the handgun between the driver’s seat and the center console before he moved it over to the waist area near his shorts.
Officer Hurst, after identifying the car as stolen, asked Moore to step out of the vehicle when the handgun was spotted, Barber said. Officer Hurst issued verbal commands to Moore to not reach for the weapon. According to Hurst’s official statement, Moore did reach for the gun, leading to Hurst shooting Moore three times.
A witness on the street also saw Moore’s handgun, Chief Barber said.
A police report obtained by News 5 shows that Officer Hurst fired five shots.
Chief Barber then proceeded to show several items that were reported stolen in vehicle burglaries and in Moore’s possession at the time of the incident. Those items include a safe that contained foreign currency. Barber’s presentation including a map showing where the incident took place and where the items were reported stolen.
Family and friends have expressed extreme skepticism in Officer Hurst’s version of the story, specifically with Moore’s gun turning up at the hospital.
There is no bodycam footage of the incident, Barber said. A second officer who arrived afterward the violence unfolded was wearing a bodycam but that footage will not be released to the media.