Kevin Curl was shot dead by a paramedic on Thursday December 17 2020 (Picture: Facebook)
A 22 year-old man shot dead by a paramedic treating his girlfriend was not a domestic abuser – and was excited about becoming a dad, his family say.
Candace McDonald says her nephew Kevin Curl had not injured his girlfriend Nia McCurl’s leg on the morning of the December 17 shooting in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Candace was unable to comment on claims that Kevin opened fire on paramedics John Spriggs, 21, and his colleague Joshua Godfrey, 35, first. But she says he ‘must have felt threatened’ to have pulled out his own, legally-owned, gun.
Defending her nephew, Candace, from Anderson in Indiana, said: ‘Kevin has never been violent in any way and he’s never abused anyone.
‘He is not a violent person, he is a good kid and he was a great person. We are devastated because he was in a good place in his life.
Kevin was pronounced dead in the kitchen at his family home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas (Picture: Facebook)
‘We will never fill the void left by Kevin but we want justice for his death, he was not a monster. If it comes out that Kevin was in the wrong then fine, all we want is to find out the truth about what really happened.
‘We want justice for Kevin’s death, this was not the Kevin we knew. He and Nia were expecting a baby and were due to go for a check up at the hospital on the day he died.
‘We want to know why the paramedic was carrying a personal firearm while at work. We have asked the ambulance service what their police on paramedics carrying guns and they’ve refused to tell us.
‘We feel like “how the hell does this happen?” We still have so many unanswered questions and we don’t feel like the police are doing a thorough investigation.’
Kevin suffered fatal gunshot wounds to his chest after an altercation broke out between him and paramedics Spriggs and Godfrey at Curl’s family home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on December 17.
Police reports claim Curl, who worked in a casino, became aggressive and opened fire at the paramedics first as they tried to treat his injured girlfriend, 20, following an alleged domestic abuse incident.
Kevin and Nia Mcelrath, 20, who is pregnant, were due to go to hospital for a maternity check up on the day of the shooting (Picture: Facebook)
Spriggs is then said to have shot Curl in self-defense, with Curl ultimately dying of the gunshot wounds while he and his colleague, Godfrey, were left with non-fatal wounds to the chest, pelvis and abdomen following the shootout, reports Arkansas Online.
The paramedics told police Curl was responsible for his girlfriend’s injuries, who was inside the ambulance when the shootout happened.
But Candace says Curl’s girlfriend, Nia Mcelrath, has denied her boyfriend abused her or caused her injuries and says he was ‘not a violent person’.
Nia declined an interview request with Metro.co.uk, but gave Candace her blessing to speak on her behalf.
Candace said Nia did not phone for an ambulance because Curl had abused her. Nia, who is pregnant, allegedly hurt her leg ‘whilst moving something’ during the early hours of the morning.
Candace also claims Curl had a gunshot wound to his back and said his dad, Kevin Curl Sr, who was in bed in the same house at the time, found bullet holes inside and on the outside of the family’s house.
The couple did have an argument the previous day, said Candace, but made up with each other just a few hours later.
There were no witnesses to the December 27, and Candace says investigators have not spoken to Nia about the run-up to the shooting.
‘The police have said they took a statement from Nia but they have not, no one from the police have spoken to Nia about what really happened’, said Candace.
‘She said she hurt her knee when they were moving something, he had a bruise. I don’t think an ambulance should have been called at all to be honest.
‘If it was a domestic abuse call then the police would have attended the house too, but they didn’t because it wasn’t domestic violence.
Kevin’s family have asked for more information to be provided about the circumstances surrounding his death (Picture: Facebook)
‘Nia said she was in the ambulance when everything happened, she was scared to death. She said she heard a scuffle and then heard the gunshots.
‘The paramedics told Kevin to go away after he said he wanted to go to the hospital with Nia. That’s when things got out of hand, there’s a grey area and we don’t know what happened.
‘The police haven’t told us either, the paramedics told the police Kevin shot first but we don’t believe that’s true.’
Candace says police have failed to update them on their investigation, and says EASI Ambulance Service, which employs Spriggs and Godfrey, has refused to talk to them about their firearms policy because of the ongoing investigation.
Candace added: ‘No one will tell us anything about what’s happening…
‘We want to know how this happened, it’s the least we deserve. We want to know what the policy is for paramedics carrying guns.
‘This wasn’t a domestic violence call, we need to know the truth.
‘Losing Kevin has been heartbreaking, he was a good kid who had a great life ahead of him.
‘What has been said about Kevin is not representative of the Kevin we knew.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted Pine Bluff Police Department and EASI ambulance service for further comment.