‘Terrifying’: Couple says officers pulled them over with guns drawn in case of mistaken identity

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — A Charlotte couple told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon they are shaken and upset after they were pulled over in a terrifying case of mistaken identity.

Huntersville police said the circumstances were unfortunate. Their officers were responding to a call Saturday night about someone shooting at a home when they passed a car matching the description coming from the direction of the shooting.

A spokesperson said they could not trust that the chaplain and his wife were not involved when they stopped the couple, regardless of their identities. The couple said that was unnecessary.

“Terrifying. Devastating. We did not know what was going on,” said Dekota McCullough.

Bishop John McCullough and his wife said the traffic stop shook them to their core.

“It was unbelievable,” John said.

The couple leads Friendship Christian Church in Gastonia, and the bishop is a chaplain for the Gastonia Police Department. They pray for and advocate for police.

They said when Huntersville police stopped their truck, they were faced with four or five officers with guns drawn.

“I felt completely threatened. Every time I close my eyes it repeats,” Dekota said.

Huntersville police call the incident, which happened off Old Statesville Road, a felony stop.

The couple said they were made to walk backwards with their hands in the air, handcuffed and led into police cars.

“They never checked our identification. Never checked our wallets,” Dekota said. “Literally praying, don’t let my husband become a statistic.”

John said he told officers he had a legally registered gun in his truck. He said he was upfront with police.

“Wondering if it had to be this extreme,” he said.

Odette Saglimbeni, a Huntersville police spokesperson, said it was a tense situation. She said officers got the couple’s identification by a check of the truck early in the process.

“But unfortunately, again, that’s just not one of those things where we aren’t going to know if they were involved just based on who they are,” Saglimbeni said.

She said it is a regretful situation, but police were looking for a shooter in a black truck and had to make sure the McCulloughs were not involved.

“Nobody wants to be put in that situation, but our officers did what they were trained to do, and they were professional,” Saglimbeni said.

John said he wants to talk to the chief to make sure procedures were followed. He has received a message from Huntersville police inviting him to talk to them about the situation.

He said he also worries that if the incident could happen to him, despite his relationship with police, then it could happen to anyone.

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