Just yards from each other, the accused killer and three police officers he allegedly shot sat in a courtroom Friday night. It was a jail courtroom without public access because of the suspect’s medical condition and security concerns.
The accused and the victims said nothing to each other in the Moss Justice Center courtroom.
The only voice was the judge asking Christian McCall if he understands the charges -- murder and attempted murder -- against him.
“Yes, sir,” McCall said, seated in a wheelchair.
It was the first time the people who survived a Jan. 16 shootout had seen each other.
Christian McCall is listed on arrest warrants as 6 feet tall, 185 pounds. He sat wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. His right leg was in a brace from where he was shot. McCall was in the chair because he was shot after he “engaged in gunfire” with police, warrants state.
Three of the four officers who had been wounded were there.
Randy Clinton, 34 years a York County Sheriff's deputy, sat in the back row. Kyle Cummings, father and husband and Iraq War veteran and police officer, also sat in the back row, said those who were in the courtroom. Buddy Brown, 13 years an officer, was there, too.
Deputy Mike Doty was not there. He died days after being shot.
The court hearing started an inexorable, downhill avalanche of accusations against McCall which, if proven and he is convicted, could end with McCall spending the rest of his life in prison or potentially facing death.
And because McCall claimed to be indigent -- fired from his banking job in Charlotte after being accused of shooting the law enforcement officers -- he will get a public defender.
Doty’s family was in the courtroom in the basement of the justice center where a couple hours earlier, McCall had been charged with Doty’s murder. Doty’s twin brother, Chris, also a deputy, did not speak.
McCall, 47, is accused of beating his wife Jan. 15, smashing her head against bricks, according to arrest warrants served on McCall. Then he fled with two guns, one a high-powered rifle according to police, and hours later shot the officers.
The incident in January started in the late hours of Jan. 15 and ended after 3 a.m. on Jan. 16, police said.
For two months McCall was in a Charlotte hospital recovering from bullet wounds he received.
The hearing took about 15 minutes.
Then McCall was wheeled back to jail.