MOREHEAD CITY, CARTERET COUNTY - The mom of a Morehead City Police Officer who was fired after accidentally shooting another officer shares her side of the story.
Gloria Willis' son Marvin Willis was fired from the Morehead City Police Department on October, 28. This stems from an internal investigation the department did after Marvin accidentally shot Garret Hardin during a training session in October.
In his termination letter, it said he was fired for being "untruthful in [his] statements concerning the events that took place," but his mother said that is not true.
"It was an accident. A momentary lapse in judgment. He didn't lie. He told exactly what he saw. He did not point his finger at anyone else. He stepped up. He was a man. To me, that's a man integrity," Gloria said.
Gloria said Marvin immediately admitted that he accidentally shot Hardin, and began to help him.
"Marvin got to Garrett, got down, and put his hands on the wounds to stop the bleeding," Gloria said.
She said from that moment on Marvin almost never left Hardin's side and stayed with him at the hospital.
"When Garrett was released, he was one of the officers that escorted him home, and he continued after that to call Garrett to find out how he was doing," Gloria said.
That is, until Marvin was fired. Now, Gloria said communication has stopped with Hardin as well as most of the officers in the department.
However, Gloria said she does not blame Chief Wren Johnson for what has happened. She only wishes he had been let off quietly.
"Something happened. Up until the day he was fired she was supportive of him," Gloria said.
Gloria said she can understand why he was fired. However, she said she is not okay with his accusation of lying. Gloria said they are accusing him of shooting an unarmed officer.
"Marvin's account was that Garrett lifted his weapon had his finger on the trigger and that Marvin shot," Gloria said.
District Attorney, Scott Thomas, investigated the case and decided no criminal charges will be issued. Marvin has been cleared with the State Bureau of Investigation. However, Scott Thomas did find Marvin to be negligent, which means he could face civil charges in the future.
SBI and the MCPD are still conducting internal investigations to see if proper procedures were followed during the training exercise. They're investigating why Marvin had live ammunition during a training exercise.
Currently, Marvin has an attorney. He met with Morehead's City Manager, David Whitlow, and the City's attorney Thursday. According to his mother, Marvin is planning to appeal his termination.
"It's not about money. He doesn't want money. He wants his name cleared. He wants to be reinstated. Once his name is clear he can i apply to other departments and its off his record and maybe move on."
Which is what Gloria is trying to do. She has been focusing on making a cake for her son's baby shower Sunday. Marvin has his first daughter on the way, and with Marvin's termination she is worried about the young couple's future.
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