A police car
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  • NC cops shot a man they identified as an armed suspect and potential hostage-taker
  • The man, 41, was accused of resisting arrest, but footage showed he complied with police
  • An investigation into the incident is still ongoing

Police in North Carolina opened fire on a man they claimed to be a suspected shooter and hostage-taker last month, but newly released footage of the encounter showed that the man was neither armed nor resisted arrest at the time.

Deputies of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) were dispatched to a residence located along Upper Bear Paw Road in Murphy on the night of Dec. 12, following a report of a disturbance involving several gun shots being fired, the force said in a statement released a day after the incident.

The CCSO obtained a search warrant and requested assistance from the Cherokee Indian Police Department's (CIPD) SWAT team since they claimed there was "an armed suspect present" and "the potential for a hostage situation," according to the sheriff's office.

Responders ended up shooting 41-year-old Jason Kloepfer at the residence after attempts to make contact were unsuccessful, police said.

He was taken to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in stable condition.

Kloepfer, who is said to be disabled, was later charged with communicating threats and resist, obstruct and delay.

He "engaged in verbal altercation with officers and emerged from a camper trailer and confronted officers" during the encounter, police said.

However, footage of the incident that Kleopfer shared in a Facebook post last week showed he complied with police by coming out of the home with his hands up.

Cherokee County Sheriff Dustin Smith has since released another statement saying CIPD's SWAT team members were responsible for firing at Kloepfer and injuring him.

Smith also noted that the CCSO's previous statement was "prepared by the county attorney based on information my office received from CIPD."

"Neither myself nor Chief Deputy Justin Jacobs were on the scene at the time of the shooting, so we relied on information provided to us from the Cherokee Indian Police Department. My goal with issuing that press release was not to comment on the subsequent criminal investigation, which remains ongoing, but rather to update the public on a dangerous situation," the sheriff said in a statement released late Friday.

"The first time I ever saw video footage from the shooting was on January 18, 2023. It's my understanding that the state and district attorney's office has been notified of the video as well," he added.

An investigation into the incident is still ongoing, Smith noted.

Kloepfer, who also shared photos revealing the extent of his injuries from the shooting, said the incident "has been and still is a horrible nightmare we are trying to get through," the New York Post reported.

He was not at a liberty to discuss his case, but he assured his friends that his charges were "completely wrong."

A man holding a gun
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