EDINBURG, Va. (WHDH) — A sheriff in Virginia has placed two supervisors on unpaid administrative leave and has apologized to a black pastor who was arrested after allegedly being assaulted by five white people on June 1.
Pastor Leon McCray said during a church service on June 7 that he had driven to one of his properties in Edinburg when he noticed a man and a woman who do not live in the apartment dragging a refrigerator through the lot and toward his dumpster.
He says he told them they were trespassing and that they needed to leave when the pair became irate.
The man allegedly left to get three more people, who proceeded to verbally and physically attack him. McCray added that they threatened his life, saying that black lives don’t matter.
Fearing for his life, McCray says he pulled out his legally concealed weapon and the five people backed away.
He then called 911 to relay to them the “traumatic experience” but said the dispatcher never asked if he was OK and only cared about if he was the one who had the gun.
Several deputies showed up and McCray says they confiscated his firearm.
They then allegedly spoke to the five other individuals involved and never gave the pastor an opportunity to explain what happened.
McCray was placed under arrest for brandishing a firearm and put in a cruiser as the group allegedly continued to make accusations.
“It was a day that changed my life and my world outlook forever,” McCray recalled during his service.
Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter took to Facebook to say that McCray met with him on June 3 and after talking about the incident, he determined that the brandishing a firearm charge should be dropped.
“Actually, as I told Mr. McCray, if I were faced with similar circumstances, I would have probably done the same thing,” Carter wrote.
Two of the other people involved, Dennis and Donny Salyers, had already been charged with assault and battery, while Amanda Salyers and Christopher Sharp were each facing a trespassing charge. However, Carter and the Shenandoah Commonwealth’s attorney looked further into the case and decided to press more charges against those four, as well as arrest a fifth person.
Dennis and Donny Salyers are now each facing the charges of felony abduction, assault — hate crime, assault by mob, and assault and battery.
Sharp is facing felony abduction, assault — hate crime, assault by mob, and trespassing.
Amanda Salyers has been charged with assault — hate crime, assault by mob and trespassing.
Farrah Salyers was additionally charged with felony abduction, assault — hate crime, and assault by mob.
All five are currently being held without bond pending their court appearance on July 17.
Two supervisors have been placed on leave while Carter completes an administrative review of the initial incident.
Carter says he has also apologized to McCray and appreciated his patience.
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