Man sues police for shooting at him during mental health crisis

  • Of the 47 shots fired by police, nine of them hit Trevor Mullinax
  • He claims he was having a mental health crisis and his hands were raised
  • Police say he had a shotgun on his lap and they thought he would flee

This image provided by York County Sheriff’s Office and released by attorney Justim Bamberg shows police dash cam video of Trevor Mullinax’s encounter with York County deputies in May 2021. Mullinax is suing the sheriff’s office in South Carolina saying deputies shot at him about 50 times when he was having a mental health crisis in a parked truck with a shotgun in his lap, even though he says his hands were raised. (York County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (NewsNation) — A man is suing a South Carolina sheriff’s office, alleging deputies shot at him dozens of times while he was having a mental health emergency.

Trevor Mullinax, 29, was struck by nine of the 47 shots fired by authorities when he was in a parked truck with a shotgun in his lap. His hands, however, were raised at the time. He suffered three wounds to the head, according to a lawsuit filed against the York County Sheriff’s Office earlier this month.

The four sheriff’s deputies started shooting only a few seconds after arriving on the scene and yelling “Hands!” several times, as seen in police dashcam video released by Mullinax’s lawyers. The barrage lasted all of five seconds, leaving the pickup windshield riddled with bullet holes.

The officers claimed they thought Mullinax was getting ready to flee.

Mullinax’s mother, Tammy Beason, said she was trying to comfort her son after he threatened to kill himself. She was standing by the driver’s-side window when the officers opened fire.

She wasn’t wounded but was placed in handcuffs.

State records obtained and reviewed by NBC News indicate he has previously been arrested for breaking and entering, burglary and misdemeanor domestic violence.

WBTV in South Carolina reported that three of the four deputies involved in the shooting are still on the force. The fourth voluntarily left the agency last April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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