Battle Creek officer recalls escaping dangerous traffic stop

Posted at 5:37 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 20:26:43-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Police officer Brad Gentry will never forget what happened on Saturday March 5. It started off like any typical day. He pulled over a car near the intersection of Hubbard Street and Goodale Avenue for speeding and rolling past a stop sign. As he approached the vehicle, and made verbal contact, the driver pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Gentry was standing a foot or two away.

“I remember the handgun going towards my face, hearing and feeling the shot go off," said Gentry whose ears rang for hours afterwards. "At that moment I realized that this was obviously not a normal traffic stop. Time slowed down and did kind of a body check and realized that I was not shot.”

Dash camera video shows Gentry turning his body just enough to avoid being hit. Gentry said he returned fire as the car drove away. He immediately began pursuing him along with other officers in the area. The suspect, who police have identified as 21-year-old Dariyone Zamone Clark-Brown, sped through a few neighborhoods for miles before police caught up to him and cuffed him. Clark-Brown has since been arraigned on several charges including assault with intent to murder. He’s now facing life in prison.

Gentry said he’s stopped people many times at that same location. He, like other Battle Creek officers, are trained to prepare for the unexpected but this “hits closer to home.”

“Traffic stops are dangerous,” said Gentry. “They’re unpredictable. A lot of things in the job are unpredictable. But especially when you’re pulling over a vehicle that can change the scene drastically.”

Gentry added that the BCPD now use his incident to train other officers on what to do in these circumstances. He said they’re always instructed to remain vigilant whenever on duty.

“I do feel very lucky to be here today and hopefully they can draw from this video some helpful insight and see that just on normal everyday things, such as pulling somebody over for speeding, the dangers of the job.

Gentry returned to work three days ago. He said he’s grateful to have walked away unscathed.

“You see all the things that happen to law enforcement across the country and across the world,” said Gentry. “You have to stay aware of your surroundings and not get complacent.”