WARNING: This article contains video and written explanation of security footage that shows a fatal officer-involved shooting. Viewer discretion is advised.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on 10/18/23, no longer attributing the second and third shouts of “Hey” to Perkins. Our review of the audio finds it unclear who was shouting at that point.
DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — News 19 is working to better understand what happened the night that officials say Stephen Perkins was shot and killed by Decatur Police officers.
A neighbor of Perkins provided News 19 with home security camera videos from the encounter on the early morning of Sept. 29. We reviewed the videos and are showing portions of them to help the public understanding around that night.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) continues to investigate the shooting and the Decatur Police Department (DPD) says one officer involved was placed on leave.
Disclaimer: The video was modified for broadcast time purposes, including when the tow truck arrives and leaves the Perkins home. News 19 has included a partial transcript of the audio in the videos. We only transcribed portions we could hear clearly to avoid misinterpretation. The video is graphic, and viewer discretion is advised. A written explanation is below if you would prefer to not watch the video.
The video is from a neighbor’s camera across the street, one house to the left of Perkins’ home on Ryan Drive in Decatur. None of the videos feature time stamps. But, the neighbor who provided the video estimates that from the time the first police car moved down the street until the shooting, about 12 minutes elapsed.
In the video – we see three people, who turn out to be Decatur Police officers — enter Stephen Perkins’ neighborhood walking through neighbors’ yards toward his house. It takes them about 90 seconds to reach the side of Perkins’ home. The video was sped up during the walk for time purposes.
News 19 zoomed out the video next, so viewers could see the full layout of the neighborhood. Eventually, the video shows the small group of officers stopping at the side of Perkins’ home.
Two of the officers walk down the next-door neighbor’s driveway – one crossing the street. The other officer returns to the side of Perkins’ house. That appears to leave two officers on the darkened side of Perkins’ home.
News 19 then shows a second clip from the same camera. It is unclear exactly how much time passes between the end of the first clip and the tow truck apparently on a repossession effort, arriving in the second clip.
It appears that as the tow truck driver hitches Perkins’ pickup truck — Perkins walks outside. The video shows a light moving in the front yard, apparently carried by Perkins.
He yells at the driver, “Hey put my truck down!”
Shouts of “Hey, hey,” can be heard as officers emerge from the spot around the corner of Perkins’ home, running around the truck, behind him.
They begin yelling, “Police! Get on the ground!”
Gunshots can be heard within seven seconds of Perkins walking outside. The video shows shots rang out four seconds after Perkins yelled at the tow truck driver.
After more than 15 rounds are fired, officers can be seen running from different directions near Perkins’ house.
An officer can be heard yelling, “That’s the gun, that’s the gun.”
Less than four minutes after Perkins is shot, the tow truck driver drives away with Perkins’ truck.
News 19 is continuing to dig deeper into this case, and all reporting on the death of Stephen Perkins and the investigation can be found here.