TODAY

TODAY   |  November 19, 2013

Cop: I aimed at tire of van filled with kids

Dashcam video of a traffic-stop dispute in New Mexico involving several police officers and a minivan with children inside shows one of the officers firing at the fan as it fled the scene. In his report, that officer said he was attempting to shoot out one of the vehicle’s tires to prevent it from fleeing.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it's a great story. but we'll begin with new details on this frightening scene. we showed it to you on monday. police busting out a window and firing shots at a van filled with children. well, joe friar has the latest on this story. hey, joe, what can you tell us?

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. according to police reports the officer that opened fire in the video says he was aiming for a tire. that remains sunday investigation as the criminal case against the minivan driver moved forward. it was an educational trip according to court records that brought her and her five home schooled children to this part of new mexico.

>> 71 in a 55.

>> reporter: after state police stop her for speeding dash cam video shows her drive agoway before the officer is done. there's a 30 second chase before ferrell pulls over and the officer tries to remove her. that's when you first hear the upset kids.

>> get out of the vehicle. get out of the vehicle right now. over the next several minutes the officer says ferrell refuses to cooperate until things finally blow up. at one point ferrell 's 14-year-old son approaches. the officer says the teen swung at him multiple times before running back into the van and locking the door just as police back up arrives.

>> open the door .

>> open the door .

>> the officer uses a baton to break the window and as the van drives away another officer fires three shots. in a police report the firing officer said he was aiming at the left rear tire trying to immobilize the vehicle. he wrote my decision in shooting at the tire and not the driver was because of all the people in the vehicle. ferrell was arrested and charged with child abuse , fleeing an officer, and possession of drug p .

>> that's in my mind what initiated everything.

>> reporter: ferrell and her attorney declined to comment but the attorney claimed ferrell was scared for her children.

>> we ought to talk about the stupidity, the recklessness of shooting at a van that's got five kids in it.

>> reporter: use of force expert greg myer watched the video and says it does race questions about the officer's actions.

>> until we know why, it's difficult to judge thumbs up or thumbs down the reasonableness of what happened here.

>> reporter: the state police chief says he does have concerns about his officer firing his gun and he does promise a full review. as for ferrell , she has pleaded not guilty and a trial is already scheduled for april. matt and savannah.