On January 8 in a suburban shopping area south of Atlanta, Derrick Thompson and another man met for a drug deal. Thompson, according to a criminal warrant later issued in Fulton County, Ga., got into a scuffle with the other man, took the drugs and ran. The other man shot him in the back and drove off. Thompson was dead when police arrived.
Three days later the South Fulton Police Department concluded on circuitous evidence that the shooter was a white or possibly light-skinned Black man nicknamed “Flock,” from Rochester, N.Y. He was later identified as Shaquan Moore, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Crista Rainey was on patrol late Wednesday night when she pulled over a Dodge Charger that had been clocked at 63 in a 50, near the Wawa store on State Road 100 in Palm Coast. Justin D. Moore, 26, of Palm Coast and his half-brother had traveled from Seminole Woods to Wawa to get some snacks. Justin was at the wheel of the Charger. His brother was visiting him from his home in Lithia, Ga. He was in the passenger seat. He was later identified as Shaquan R. Moore.
What followed was the fourth seemingly routine traffic stop or street encounter in the last eight days that turned violent on local roads, this time leading to the arrest of a 21-year-old Shaquan Moore, the man wanted for murder in Georgia. He was carrying a loaded gun. (See the video below.)
Rainey had pulled them over under the gas-station awning at Wawa, and requested back-up when she smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from the car, which was going to lead to a search of the car. Shaquan was scrolling through his phone as Rainey approached the car from the passenger side. She asked that the Charger be shut off, and asked Shaquan–whose name was not yet known to authorities–in the passenger seat not to use his phone just then.
“It’s an officer safety thing,” Rainey tells him. “One of the most dangerous things we do are traffic stops. Next thing you know you tell somebody that you got pulled over and we’ve got angry somebody showing up at a traffic stop, then we have to divide our attention, OK?” She asked Justin to step out and Shaquan to stay in the seat. “I’m not looking to bust somebody for just a little bit,” Rainey tells Justin as she asks him if there’s marijuana or hemp in the car. “You got a little bit. Tell me and we’ll work with you. But if you don’t tell me I’m going through the car anyway, because I have probable cause.”
“If anything, it’s probably just some stuff in the ashtray,” Justin tells her, like old “roaches,” or remnants of joints. Justin is searched, then asked to sit on the bumper of Rainey’s patrol car, where he is searched further, being asked to take off his socks and wiggle his toes. “I’ve never done it like this, this is crazy,” he says, continuing to comply with all commands.
“So you’re an expert on how cops do their traffic stops?” Rainey tells him. “I would just stop. Stop being difficult.” But he’s not being “difficult.” He’s complied and remained calm. “There’s nothing to be difficult about. I’m just asking questions, ma’am,” he says, putting his shoes back on. Rainey then decides to handcuff him, telling him he’s “just a little too uncooperative,” which does not appear to be the case, based on Rainey’s body cam, though the intangible ways experienced officers detect potentially difficult situations is not always apparent in a video clip. (Rainey has been with the agency six years.)
Her narrated description in Shaquan’s arrest report is more accurate: “Justin was mildly argumentative and appeared to be a little nervous and moving around while I was speaking to him,” she wrote. “Because of this, I placed him in handcuffs for officer safety. He was then placed in the backseat of my patrol vehicle.” She tells him he’s not under arrest, just being “detained” until the investigation is over.
She then walks back to Shaquan, who by then had been asked to stand by near the back of the same car. But when Rainey tells him “we’re going to do the same thing for you,” the situation quickly degrades, but the camera no longer shows what took place as it seems to have fallen, with Rainey’s and the second deputy’s voices repeatedly heard saying “stop resisting,” and Shaquan screaming “I’m not.”
Rainey’s narrative describes the scene: As deputy Clay attempted to pat him down, he would not comply with instructions, and when Rainey decided to handcuff him, he “immediately made several attempts to pull away and eventually tried to run from myself and deputy Clay. I was able to grab Shaquan’s legs, which caused him to fall to the ground.” The deputy says he continued to pull away as she warned him he’d get tased if he didn’t stop. “Shaquan stated he was not resisting, even though he continuously attempted to defeat our efforts to secure him in handcuffs.”
The two deputies were attempting to control Shaquan–who appeared to them to be repeatedly reaching for his waistband, where a 9mm TP9 handgun would be found later, according to Rainey’s report–when a third deputy approached and after warning him, tased Shaquan in stun mode “three or four times,” bringing him under control.
“This is what you’re trying to do–are you dumb?” Rainey yells, disbelieving, when the gun is found on him moments later. The gun was loaded. Shaquan told deputies he was not trying to resist–only trying to hand them the gun.
Shaquan didn’t have identification on him. When he gave his full name and a database search was conducted, it produced the warrant for his arrest on a murder charge. He otherwise has no criminal history, Rainey noted.
Shaquan appeared disbelieving when a deputy told him of the warrant.
Shaquan was arrested on a charged possession of a concealed weapon charge and a resisting arrest charge, along with the execution of the Fulton County warrant. He was being held on $6,000 bond on the local charges, and no bond on the Georgia warrant.
The car search produced an amount of marijuana so small that “it was consumed during the testing process.” Justin was issued a verbal warning for both his pot possession and speeding violation and released, along with his vehicle.
“This goes to show that no traffic stop is ‘routine’ and a simple speeding violation can quickly escalate into a violent encounter with a very dangerous individual,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “DFC Rainey had no idea that she was pulling over a fugitive wanted for murder.” (The acronym stands for deputy first class.) This could have easily turned into a deadly encounter but our deputies reacted quickly, used their training to safely take this suspect into custody and, thankfully, God was watching over our deputies last night.”
Just since March 10, a traffic stop on I-95, an attempted traffic stop on U.S. 1 and an encounter with a pedestrian near U.S. 1 in Bunnell all led to violent outcomes or confrontations involving sheriff’s deputies.