Black Experience

Virginia Officer Apologizes Arresting Black Pastor Who Pulled Gun on Neighbors in Self-Defense

A law enforcement officer in Woodstock, Va., has apologized to a Black pastor who was arrested for pulling his legal firearm against a group of white people.

Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter said Friday that prosecutors dropped a charge of brandishing a licensed handgun in self-defense against Rev. Leon McCray Sr., who drew his weapon after five people — who now face hate crime and assault charges — threatened to kill the retired Air Force veteran after trying to discard a refrigerator on his property on June 1.

McCray described the events leading to his arrest in a June 7 sermon, “For Such a Time as This,” at Lighthouse Church & Marketplace Ministries International.

“Being threatened and fearing for my life, I took and felt compelled to pull my legal concealed weapon to save my life, and when I did that, finally these individuals backed up long enough for me to call 911,” McCray said, calling the incident a very “traumatic experience.”

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