NC Shooting Highlight Dangers of Swatting & ‘Red Flag’ Responses

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The raid on [Jason] Kloepfer’s home, a camper trailer on a 3-acre parcel along a winding road 20 minutes outside Murphy, was prompted by a 911 call from the next-door neighbor placed just before 11 p.m,” Smoky Mountain News reports.

“’My neighbor about an hour ago started shooting off fireworks, screaming yelling he’s going to kill the whole neighborhood, yada yada, he’s discharging a firearm,’ the neighbor told dispatch. ‘I’ve been videoing all of this, but I was just gonna let it go. But I just heard his wife screaming “stop it,” and then a bunch of shots went off and now I can’t hear her over there at all.’”

Thus began a series of flawed assumptions leading to the shooting of a disabled man by the Cherokee Indian Police Department SWAT team.

This produced a shocking video that was reported on in this column last month and followed up on with a look at additional unanswered questions in this more recent column.

As part of an ongoing investigation into what happened and how it happened, AmmoLand Shooting Sports News has obtained the Calls for Service (CFS) [aka:911] dispatch recording of events as they unfolded, along with the accompanying report, both embedded below.

The above-quoted excerpt, along with the recording and transcript, offers explanations for why law enforcement responded to the scene anticipating the worst. Actions on the part of Kloepfer, the man who was shot, explain the motivation for the neighbor calling the cops on him and for the first responder mindset throughout the series of events.

What these actions don’t mitigate or excuse is the police opening fire on him immediately after he emerged unarmed from his trailer with his hands raised and his wife directly behind him.

What’s apparent is that this is not the first time Kloepfer made noise by revving motorcycles, shooting fireworks, and playing loud music without consideration for the hour or for who it might disturb. Indications are the sheriff’s department had been called about him several times before, and law enforcement was familiar with him. However, the previous times appear to have been resolved without any citations or arrests, and deputies would have known that, too. Records of those previous calls, and how many may have been made by the neighbor who made the latest call, have not been obtained at this writing, but records show they were requested by the SWAT commander and “printed in [the] squad room.”

Here’s what look to be the damning parts from the CFS Report, [embedded below] at least on the surface and without further scrutiny:

“MALE WAS SAYING HE WILL KILL EVERYONE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD RP HAS ON VIDEO THE MALE SAYING SEND THE COPS ILL GET THEM TOO RP HEARD HIS WIFE SCREAMING STOP IT A BUNCH OF TIMES AND A COUPLE OF SHOTS AND NOW RP CANNOT HEAR HIM …HE FIRED ONE ROUND INTO THE GARAGE THAT IS SECURED. THE RP SAW THE MALE GO INTO THE CAMPER. SAW THE MALE SECURE THE GARAGE APARTMENT AND THEN WALK INTO THE CAMPER. THEY ARE UNABLE TO GET MALE TO COME OUT OF THE CAMPER.”

The first part was based on what the caller told dispatch. We don’t know that this is an accurate description of what happened vs. the subjective impressions of the caller, but at this point, the ensuing beliefs on the part of first responders were based on the assumption that Kloepfer was dangerous.

It’s understandable that the perceived threat level would be raised, and heightened caution would be appropriate. It’s also true that a caller can tell the police anything. In the absence of the “videotapes” the caller says she made (those are not available at this writing and will require further efforts and potentially a Freedom of Information Act request to try and obtain), that also needs to be a consideration in the minds of first responders.

They did not know if the allegations were true, made up, or simply mistaken. They did not know if the caller could reliably distinguish between gunshots and fireworks. To infer from shouting gone silent that one party may have violently silenced the other against their will is subjective and every bit as likely to have an entirely different explanation. The fact that Kloepfer’s wife was later found to have been sleeping with him peacefully until roused by a SWAT team robot bears that out. And that “altogether about ten shots” were reported, but the deputies found “one shell casing” points to yet another allegation not matching the evidence. And who knows when that particular round was fired?

Why would Kloepfer ever be shooting on his property at all? It’s a rural property. People do, and for a variety of legitimate reasons.

As for being unable to get Kloepfer “to come out of the camper,” the “why” still needs to be unraveled, but the record does raise a question of legality. The CFS recap notes at 11:46 p.m. on Dec. 12 that authorities were unable to make contact. It doesn’t mention until 2:27 a.m. on Dec. 13 that responders were “advised search warrant is being signed.”

In the absence of that, what are a citizen’s obligations for talking with the police?

Other revelations the recording and report raise compound the unique and peculiar events of the night. The Cherokee Indian Police Department did not have a current MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department and thus had no authority to act until a new one was signed. Everyone gathered at the station, so it’s noteworthy that neither the sheriff nor his chief deputy made it out to the scene where they were sending another department to take potentially lethal actions,

We also hear from the records that “There is a computer monitor inside the garage that shows the security camera footage from around the house,” so responders were aware of those. When police noticed a camera inside the trailer after shooting Kloepfer, that could mean they didn’t know about it and explain the expletive reaction heard on the video.

Reviewing that video again, one other point the police may bring up as they defend their actions may be that when Kloepfer was awakened by the police robot and turned on his bedroom light, it appears he defensively grabbed a handgun. But what is also clear, and it can be seen as he walks from the bedroom into the main living area, is that it is no longer in his hand.

Assuming the police robot was being monitored, its operator should have noticed that he picked it up, and that is what was in his hand. And the operator should have advised the rest of the team that was standing by with guns ready.

Another disconnect not readily apparent nor explainable is that after Kloepfer was shot, there was an EMS team with medics stationed a short distance from his property, who came in when given clearance and “requested a chopper.” A Google Maps aerial view of the Kloepfer property shows large cleared areas to the east and to the north that are directly adjacent.

“LIFEFORCE adv all declined due to weather,” they were told, and with life-threatening injuries, Kloepfer had to be driven to Chattanooga, approximately a two-hour drive. The curious thing that warrants further inquiry is the weather report for that night (Weather Underground defaults to the McGhee Tyson Airport weather station in Louisville TN for Murphy NC) does not indicate hazardous conditions for Dec. 13, so it does not seem inappropriate to expect investigators to explore who made that call and why.

Further questions it will be interesting to see if the investigators raise and answer:

  • Are there bodycam videos from the on-scene officers?
  • Was what the robot monitored recorded?
  • Why did the Sheriff tell the public that Jason Kloepfer “engaged in a verbal altercation with officers and emerged from a camper trailer and confronted officers”?
  • Why has Kloepfer been “been charged with Communicating Threats and Resist, Obstruct, and Delay,” when the threats appear to be hearsay based on random alleged utterances to no one in particular, no resistance was observed, and the obstruction and delay appear to have occurred before there was even a warrant?
  • Why has Kloepfer said he and his wife have had to leave the state because they fear for their lives?

As a rule in law enforcement, different agencies know and work closely with each other. This is a small community, and it is incumbent that District Attorney Ashley Welch take that into consideration when determining an appropriate legal response to use of force protocol, Constitutional and possible criminal violations.

On the surface, this story appears to be one about police overreaction and a suspect learning FAFO realities the hard way, and not something directly related to protecting or advancing the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

In short, why is this article posted on AmmoLand News?

Because this could happen to any gun owner when any noisy, angry, or woke neighbor gives wrong information to law enforcement.

We’ve all heard of “swatting,” to where you don’t have to have done anything but made an enemy, even an unknown one who simply hates you for your political views. And we are increasingly subject to “red flag laws” where police can show up to confiscate firearms because they have been told you are a danger to yourself and/or others – all without due process.

In Kloepfer’s case, the default position of the first responders was to believe the allegations. The way they lit him up when he opened the door is all the indication we need that, assurances of professional training notwithstanding, the prime directive of everyone showing up to confiscate your guns is not to ensure your rights are protected but to ensure they make it home at the end of their shift.

The CFS Report and Dispatch Recording follow, above and below (Note: the original sound recording has been edited to leave out the name and telephone number of the neighbor who called the police):


About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

13 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
gregs

where are the videos of him making the threats and the wife screaming? sounds like the neighborhood karen not a friendly neighbor. i sure wouldn’t want her as a neighbor.
everything the cops did was inappropriate, especially take the word of a rp (reporting person) as trustworthy. when was the warrant signed, by who?
so many questions that need to be answered for this to be resolved.
huge civil action eminent.

xtphreak

Possibly entailing the filing of charges against the neighbor for a false report?

Swatting someone, resulting in property damage, bodily injury or death needs to be a chargeable offense.

xtphreak

I wanted to say also, if police receive a callout, they have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the claims made by the Reporting Party.

If they don’t see, hear etc anything to verify the claims upon arrival, they have NO authority to do anything beyond knocking on the door and politely asking if everything is ok.

A 911 call of violence etc is HEARSAY, at best, until verified by the responding officer(s).

UncleT

I thought it was illegal to ‘knowingly’ make a false police report including on a 911 call?

Last edited 1 year ago by UncleT
ROCK6

It is, but rarely charged. This needs more attention and any actions the police take that have lethal results (bodily injury or wrongful death) needs to have an accessory charge for whoever falsely reported the incident. This wasn’t about a noisy, obnoxious neighbor, this was a deliberate attempt to falsify a report to get lethal response. I’m not removing the extremely questionable police response actions, but their posture was a result of emergency call. My son’s SWAT commander was called by dispatch for an apartment shooting and barricade situation. They arrived, talked to neighbors and the shooter just did an… Read more »

UncleT

“Excessive use of force is often the first response protocol it seems in some departments; and the majority of the time, not necessary.“

Is it just me or is this thing called “Protocol” getting people killed in everything? I heard it while in Hospitals during covid, heard it this week in this train derailment and blowing up chemicals and now I hear it in police tactical operations. What happened to dealing with each situation differently with the care or need needed? Protocols mean one size fits all and that not how life works.

Zhukov

Makes me think that this whole thing was a swatting incident. The police involved and the “neighbor” need to be investigated and charged. Why nothing about interviews with other neighbors to determine if they can or cannot confirm what was called in to the 911 dispatch?

Mystic Wolf

If the closest neighbor was about three acres away that would be about 900 to 1000 feet! Unless you have a directional mic on that video recording any voices you h3arvare only going to be muffled sounds at best, you are not going to hear anything cleat and if there are trees in the area that is going to make audio recording even more difficult. Yeah it sounds like that neighbor just wanted 5o get rid of the guy by an6 means, it also sounds like he had a grudge against the fellow that was gunned down!. At this time… Read more »

RedBass

Swatting should equal a felony crime. The cost of effort and the waste that it imposes to public safety should mandate it. The country as a whole is soft on crime, hence, this is why there are so many. George Soros backed DA’s with Hunter Biden credentials (that means you have not experience) put the worse of the worse back out on the street. Except when there is a 70 year old protecting his property and uses legal deadly force in a Soros backed town, you go to jail and the criminals run free. Nice….

Nun

I LIVE HERE, Cherokee County, NC. Let me tell you about the current KOP KLOWN SHOW we have in the county. I had high hopes for the new sheriff, Dustin Smith. He just returned from the Sheriff Mack School for Constitutional Sheriffing (or whatever it’s called). It’s a great course and should be mandatory for EVERY sheriff in the united states of America. HOWEVER, with the latest events (attempted firing squad – attempted murder of Mr. Kloepfer), calling in another departments’ SWAT team (that has ZERO jurisdiction in Cherokee County), lack of managerial oversight (neither the sheriff or undersheriff were… Read more »

Courageous Lion - Hear Me Roar - Jus Meum Tuebor

The major problem with red flag “laws’ is the total disregard of the 4th amendment. which seems to go along with the total disregard of the whole Constitution by “our” government functionaries on a daily basis all over the US.

Jsauerii

The caller and every cop on site who fired a round should be charged with attempted murder. PERIOD! Backing the blue is backing your own future death and the lies associated to cover up your murder at the hands of the blue line badged terrorist organization.

Bill

So bad! Heads should roll! Training should be increased. Hands raised and SHOT??