Canton officer nearly hit while attempting to stop Wal-Mart merchandise thieves

Posted at 8:03 AM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 08:28:33-05

A video showing a Canton police officer, who was almost hit by a car as he was trying to stop a shoplifter at Wal-Mart, is going viral.

Officer Darrell Pierson was attempting to stop a woman, later identified as Erin Buckley, Monday night for stealing merchandise. 

Pierson followed her out of the store and saw her get into a car with two men. 

When he tried to confront her, police say passenger Troy Anthony Gordon got out of the car and tussled with the veteran cop.

"He like went after the cop like he was gonna try to fight the cop," said witness Brandon Schneider.

What was he thinking at the time? "I got to make sure I get this on video, just make sure everything happens the right way."

But then things started to go wrong.

The car started backing up and officer Pierson pulled his gun. 

"Don't you do it. Don't you do it. I'll *expletive shoot you," Pierson can be heard saying. 

"He didn't even pull the weapon until he was about to get run over by the car," Schneider told News 5. "And he was like, 'If you back up anymore, I'm gonna shoot you' and let them know right then and there and he still didn't shoot even when they backed up."

Schneider said while he was recording the crazy incident on his phone, he was scared. He feared someone would get shot, or the officer seriously injured.

That's when officer Pierson ran to the driver's side and used his baton to break a window.

"Get out of the Car! Get out of the car! Get out of the car!" he yelled.

But the officer, who has been on the force for about 20 years, never fired his gun, even as the vehicle drove away.

That restraint earned praise from witnesses and fellow officers. 

"I'm really very proud of the Canton Police Department and how that officer handled himself and he wasn't even on duty," said Schneider. "He was just working at Wal-Mart. It would have been off duty officer shoots man in parking lot, that would have been the headline."

"By him not firing his weapon at these people, it just showed the value of life," said Canton Police Capt. Dave Davis.

Buckley and the driver, Erick Thurman, were arrested by other Canton officers a short time later, as was Gordon. 

The video has been shared more than 9,000 times as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. It has been viewed more than 400,000 times.

"The video is just crazy," said Schneider. "I never expected it to do anything like that."

DISCLAIMER: The video has some offensive language and images: