Two White men are facing criminal charges after a Black FedEx Express driver alleged that he was chased and shot at while delivering packages in Brookhaven, Mississippi.
When he called police to report the shooting, he says he was told by the dispatcher that they had just received a call about a suspicious person at the same address.
D’Monterrio Gibson, 24, told CNN by phone he was delivering packages to a home around 7 p.m. on January 24 when he saw a white pickup truck coming from the house behind it.
The truck started approaching Gibson and blowing the horn at him, Gibson said.
The van Gibson was driving was a Hertz rental van that had two large Hertz stickers on the back, Gibson said. Gibson’s attorney, Carlos E. Moore, told CNN that Gibson was wearing a FedEx jacket, shirt and pants but the vehicle had no FedEx markings.
Gibson said he thought he was in the truck’s way and so he tried to leave, but the truck swerved around him and tried to cut him off.
“At that point my instincts kick in, and I swerve around him as he (is) trying to cut me off to avoid getting stuck in the neighborhood,” he said.
Gibson said he drove down the street about two or three houses when a man in the middle of the road pointed a gun at his vehicle and was mouthing and waving at Gibson to stop. Gibson said he shook his head “no” to indicate he wasn’t going to stop and then hid behind his steering wheel while he swerved around him.
That’s when Gibson heard “at least five shots and heard the bullets hitting the van,” according to an incident report filed January 25 by the Brookhaven Police Department after officers met with Gibson and his boss.
As he was leaving the neighborhood, Gibson said, one of his managers called and he told the manager someone was shooting at him. She told him to get back to the station as fast as he could. The truck, now with both men inside, chased Gibson out of Brookhaven and to the interstate, Gibson said.
According to affidavits, Gregory Case was driving the truck chasing Gibson and Brandon Case was the man in the street pointing the gun at Gibson. Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins confirmed to CNN that Gregory is Brandon’s father.
Brandon Case was charged with feloniously attempting to cause bodily injury with a firearm and a deadly weapon by shooting at an occupied vehicle with Gibson inside, according to an affidavit provided to CNN by the Brookhaven Municipal Court, signed January 31.
Gregory Case was charged with unlawfully and feloniously conspiring with Brandon Case to commit aggravated assault by attempting to cause bodily injury to Gibson, the affidavit, signed February 1, states.
Vicki Magee, dispatch supervisor for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, told CNN the Cases were booked and bonded February 1. Brandon Case’s bond was $150,000 and Gregory’s Case’s bond was $75,000, Magee said.
In a statement to CNN, Moore said he thinks Gibson was targeted by the Cases, both White men, “because he is African-American. He was simply doing his job as a FedEx driver in full uniform when he was chased and assaulted by gunfire.”
Moore added, “We believe that they should have been arrested and the charges need to be upgraded from conspiracy and shooting into a vehicle to attempted murder. Because if the roles were reversed, and he’d done this to them, he would have been immediately arrested for attempted murder and gone to jail that same night. He wouldn’t have been allowed to wait a week to turn himself in.”
CNN has reached out to attorneys for Brandon Case and Gregory Case but has not yet heard back.
Report of ‘suspicious person’ coincided with incident
Once Gibson left Brookhaven and felt safe, he called another FedEx manager who said they would file a police report in the morning. But Gibson said he wasn’t comfortable waiting and called Brookhaven Police dispatch.
Gibson said at one point, the dispatcher cut him off and asked whether he had been at a certain address, and Gibson said he had. The dispatcher told Gibson they had just received a report of a suspicious person at that address. Gibson said he told dispatch he wasn’t a suspicious person – he was a FedEx worker and was just doing his job.
After talking to dispatch, Gibson returned to the FedEx station, and he and his manager found bullet holes in the van and packages. He filed a report with FedEx that night. The next morning, Gibson went with a manager to the Brookhaven police station, where he said police weren’t taking him seriously.
Gibson said one officer incorrectly repeated his statement back to him three or four times before finally getting it right. The second officer told Gibson he was going to play “devil’s advocate” and asked Gibson, “Did you do anything to make them think you were suspicious?”
Gibson said, “That was a slap in the face to me.” Gibson said the third officer got him to write his own statement and then took Gibson to the crime scene, where the officer asked whether he wanted to look for bullet fragments. Gibson said he did, but they didn’t find any.
Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins told CNN in an interview Thursday that Gibson was a “great witness,” and when asked why the Cases weren’t arrested for eight days, he said investigations take time. Collins said they had arrest warrants drawn up and when the pair came to the station for an interview, they were arrested.
Collins said it hurts him to see everyone “vilifying” the police department and that race has nothing to do with the way the investigation has been handled. Collins is Black.
Moore said he has spoken with the district attorney, Dee Bates, who said that once he gets the case from the Brookhaven Police Department, he will present it to the next grand jury that convenes in April.
The case must go through the grand jury, Bates told CNN in a statement, and “the grand jury has the ability to charge whatever they find probable cause existing. Just because there is a charge or aggravated assault, the grand jury is not limited to that.”
Moore said he has contacted the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC. A DOJ spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the department has received a request to review the matter, but provided no additional details.
CNN has also reached out to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation but has not yet heard back. Collins told CNN the MBI agreed to help with case and processed the Hertz van Gibson was driving.
Collins told CNN the FBI came to his office Thursday morning and picked up the case file to investigate it as part of a hate crime. The FBI in Jackson, Mississippi, told CNN in a statement it could not confirm whether matters are under investigation, citing bureau policy.
FedEx response questioned
After he left the police station the day after the shooting, Gibson said, FedEx put him on the same route on which the shooting happened. After two days of doing that route, he said, he started having anxiety and almost had a panic attack, so he went on unpaid leave February 2.
Moore also told CNN he has not been pleased with the way FedEx has handled the situation.
“To me, they have not taken this seriously,” Moore said. “This man is on unpaid leave for something that happened on the job. He should be on paid leave.”
At a news conference Thursday, Moore told reporters FedEx is voluntarily paying for Gibson’s therapy.
FedEx sent a statement to CNN saying, “FedEx takes situations of this nature very seriously, and we are shocked by this criminal act against our team member, D’Monterrio Gibson. The safety of our team members is our top priority, and we remain focused on his wellbeing. We will continue to support Mr. Gibson as we cooperate with investigating authorities.”
CNN’s Tina Burnside contributed to this report.