Charlotte, NC – Recently-released bodycam and dashcam footage captured the moment when a Mecklenburg County sheriff’s deputy returned fire after a suspect repeatedly shot him during a traffic stop in February (video below).
He returned fire and was able to hit the gunman despite his own injuries.
The incident began at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Feb. 19, when a man flagged Deputy Whyms over and told him he was concerned that his son was mentally unstable, WJZY reported at the time.
As they were speaking, the man pointed out a passing vehicle and told Deputy Whyms his son was the driver.
The deputy took off after the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on Salome Church Road, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Bodycam footage showed Deputy Whyms exiting his patrol car while instructing the driver to shut off his vehicle and to remove his keys from the ignition.
His name is Dijon Whyms. He is a Deputy Sheriff in Mecklenburg County. Dijon was shot during a traffic stop. He is recovering from the injuries after surgery. We wish our Brother a full and speedy recovery.#NC #podcast #talkradio #radio #police #Sheriff #trooper #crime pic.twitter.com/w0yidzlZOA
— John Jay Wiley (@JohnWil21815218) February 21, 2022
The suspect was later identified as 23-year-old Aidan Bryant, WSOC reported.
As Deputy Whyms walked around the front of his patrol car and began approaching Bryant’s vehicle, the suspect suddenly opened fire on him, the video showed.
Despite suffering three gunshot wounds to his upper body and two to his lower body, Deputy Whyms was able to return fire as he struggled to reach cover behind his patrol car, WJZY reported.
“All of his training kicked in,” Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden told WTVD, adding that he is proud of how the deputy “handled himself.”
“If you hear the audio, he’s calm,” the sheriff noted.
Bryant was shot in the abdomen during the gun battle, WSOC reported.
Bodycam footage showed the suspect briefly accelerating away from the traffic stop before he abruptly hit the brakes, stopped in the middle of the roadway, and got out of the car, according to WTVD.
“I think that he was going to come back and attempt to take my deputy’s life,” Sheriff McFadden told WTVD.
Deputy Whyms was able to take cover behind his patrol vehicle, at which point Bryant got back into his car and sped away.
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer rushed to the wounded deputy’s aid and helped get him transported to Atrium Main hospital after applying a tourniquet to his arm, WJZY reported.
Deputy Whyms, a 45-year-old, 20-year veteran of the MCSO, underwent surgery and was released from the hospital weeks later on Feb. 21 to continue his recovery at home, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Sheriff McFadden said watching Deputy Whyms leave the hospital that afternoon was an experience he won’t soon forget.
Great News! Deputy D. Whyms is headed home from the hospital and expected to make a full recovery.
Thank you so much for the outpouring of support for Deputy Whyms and the entire MCSO family during this time. pic.twitter.com/nunKp3aVWz
— Meck Sheriff (@MeckSheriff) February 21, 2022
“It was very emotional, and words cannot express watching my deputy walk out of the hospital today after being there upon his arrival Saturday,” he told WBTV.
Whyms is continuing to recover from his wounds but is hopeful he will be able to return to work soon, WTVD reported.
“I want him to come back and have the conversation with the younger deputies to say, ‘This is why training is important and this is why I’m here today – because of my training,’” Sheriff McFadden said.
The sheriff praised first responders for the swift response that helped save the wounded deputy.
“Having been in this situation many times in my past career, it is more difficult to process as a leader,” Sheriff McFadden said in a statement to The Charlotte Observer. “I am grateful for MEDIC, Charlotte Fire Department, CMPD, North Carolina Highway Patrol, Atrium Security and especially grateful for Officer Topper, who administered a tourniquet to Deputy Whyms.”
“Officer Topper works for CMPD and was the first officer on the scene and rendered aid to my deputy,” Sheriff McFadden told reporters. “Today, I’m very proud to be a first responder. I’m very proud to be in law enforcement.”
Sheriff McFadden said he knows Deputy Whyms very well and that they have celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together in the past.
“It gave me great comfort seeing my brothers uniting to support the sheriff’s office during this difficult time,” he added.
Bryant showed up at Mallard Creek Urgent Care suffering from a gunshot wound shortly after his attack on the deputy, WJZY reported.
He has since been released from the hospital and is facing charges of assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer and attempted first-degree murder, according to The Charlotte Observer.
According to court documents, Bryant was in possession of multiple firearms that had been stolen from gun shops in North Carolina, WJZY reported.
He also had an unrelated warrant out of Scotland County for possession of a stolen firearm and larceny of a firearm, according to WBTV.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: