Middlefield, OH — In this incredible dash cam video embedded below, James Gilkerson brandished an AK-47 and opened fire on two police officers who had pulled him over for failing to stop at an intersection.
In the aftermath of the shootout, the local police chief referred to Gilkerson as a “terrorist.”
The deadly traffic stop gunbattle occurred on March 10, but the video has just been released into the public domain.
One of the officers, Erin Thomas, can be heard prophetically saying “he’s hiding something” before the man gets out his car with the weapon.
As the officers prepared to approach the pulled-over vehicle, Gilkerson suddenly got out and unleashed over 30 rounds with his weapon. Officers Thomas and and Brandon Savage returned fire. Gilkerson was pronounced dead at the scene. He shouted “kill me” at the cops during the gunfight.
Gilkerson, 42, had no criminal history and was described at least outwardly as “a nice man who devoted his time to caring for his elderly mother.”
Both officers were injured in the exchange of gunfire. Thomas lost a finger and Savage suffered minor injuries to his left thigh.
Authorities have yet to determine a motive for the attack, although his car apparently contained eight 40-round magazines for the AK-47 as well as “books and DVDs, covering topics ranging from acquiring new identification, homemade weapons, backyard rocketry and combat tactics.” An investigation is ongoing.
Middlefield Police Chief Arnold Stanko said flatly, “He got of the vehicle, intending to kill my officers. We don’t know why he did it.” Added Stanko: “He was a scumbag, and a terrorist, and he’s dead.”
Local prosecutors determined that the the police response was justified: ” … in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death… the only reasonable recourse for both officers was to use their firearms in self defense.”
Watch the dash cam video of the gunfight between James Gilkerson and two Middlefield, Ohio, cops following a traffic stop: