Gaston County police officer accused of pulling rifle on own family

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A Gaston County police officer has been arrested, accused of pulling out an assault rifle on Christmas Eve and threatening his family.

Tim Leophard grabbed his AR-15 and threatened to shoot himself and any police officers who came to the house, officials told Channel 9.

Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon was in the courtroom Wednesday when Tim Leophard made his first appearance.

Two 911 calls were made during the incident that consisted mainly of screams.

The prosecutor tried to get the judge to hear the call before handing down bond but after hearing the case, the judge said that he didn't need to hear the calls to set a high bond of $100,000 for Leophard.

Leophard watched by video from jail as his wife stood in court, a domestic violence advocate at her side.

Leophard’s wife was too emotional to talk about Christmas Eve, and the 911 call she made when she said Leopard grabbed an assault rifle.

"He's just threatening him pointing a gun around and pointing a gun at himself,” she had said.

She filed a restraining order Tuesday claiming, "He went to get a gun from the bedroom. He came back and was waving it around at me, his mom, and our children.  He threatened to kill us."

In the 911 call from their home near Dallas, North Carolina you can hear someone pleading with him to put the gun down and his daughters crying in fear.

His wife said he was suicidal and "he threatened to kill any police officers that would come if I called 911"

In the 911 call, you hear Leophard ask "Did you call the cops?"

The caller responded, "Why do you care?"

"Tell me if you called the cops," he said.

"No please I'm begging you," the caller responds.

His wife said he was drunk and took prescription medicine.

Gaston County police responded to the call at one of their own officer's homes, but the chief said neither side wanted to press charges.

Leophard's attorney, David Phillips, said he needs treatment not incarceration.

"He is not used to being on the other side of the bars," Phillips said.

He said Leophard has PTSD after two tours in Afghanistan and getting shot during a standoff with an accused murder suspect in 2015.

"He loves his family. He wishes it never happened, but he has got to be the man that he is and face the charges," Phillips said.

His wife said it wasn't just one bad incident.

She said he fired a shots inside of the house two years ago and recently expressed violent and suicidal behavior.

Leophard's guns have been taken, police said all of them were private guns and didn't belong to the department.

If he eventually gets out on bond, he can't have contact with is family, and must submit to GPS monitoring.

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