GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - At a press conference Tuesday, the Culbertson family said they are pushing tears aside and breaking their silence.
Greenville County deputies fatally shot their son Michael Culbertson after they said he was wanted for several traffic violations. After reviewing the body camera footage taken off three deputies, this family believes it was handled in the wrong way.
"This did not have to happen this way. They had seven special trained officers 3 feet from a 117 pound young man," Daryl Culbertson said. Daryl is Michael's father.
Deputies had searched for Culbertson for several days on multiple active warrants including resisting arrest, failure to stop for blue lights, interfering with police and reckless driving.
"You don’t even see stuff like this on TV. This doesn’t make any sense to me. Since when does a traffic violation result in murder?" Daryl Culbertson asked.
Culbertson said alongside his family and Paul Guy that he believes deputies did not take enough steps to announce themselves from the beginning, coming out of an unmmarked van. The Greenville County Sheriff's office said in the released footage, five out of the seven deputies fired their weapon.
"You can hear them screaming "He’s down, he’s down cease fire, cease fire,' but they’re just still shooting him. It was like he was pinata. It’s not okay," Culbertson said.
Culbertson admits the family was working with deputies to try and coax Michael out of hiding, but they never envisioned it ending like this. The shooting happened just feet away from Michael's grandfather's front door.
"As (Sheriff) Lewis noted to TV stations that Michael pointed a gun at his deputy and they shot and killed him. That never happened if you watch the video. He never pointed a gun at anybody," Carey Culberston said. Culbertson was armed at the time of the shooting.
After an internal investigation, the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said the shooting was justified and reviewed by the internal review board.
This family said they believe if proper steps were taken, the situation could have ended differently.
"He was a scared boy. They never identified themselves as police officers. I believe in the system, I backed the system up and they let me down, and my child is dead because of it," Daryl Culbertson said.
GCSO has not commented as of writing. SLED is still investigating.