The last moments of 17-year-old Christian Redwine’s life were marked by spinning car wheels, a barrage of gunfire and a teen girl pleading for her life.
Video recorded from the dashboard camera on then-Officer Alan Brown’s police cruiser shows Redwine leading Columbus police on a chase that tops 100 mph before he wrecks out on Riverchase Drive in Phenix City about 4:30 a.m. Nov. 6, 2016.
The Pontiac G-6 that Redwine took from a family friend is off the road’s right side with Brown’s headlights on it when Redwine shifts to reverse, his tires spinning as he backs up. Two separate sets of gunfire follow, first a burst of 11 shots, then a second spate of 10 more.
With the Pontiac no longer in the camera frame, the audio captures the voice of Redwine’s wounded front-seat passenger, 18-year-old Hannah Wuenschel, begging for help.
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“No! Please! I got shot!” she yells. “Please, no, please! I’m so sorry! Please, I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry, sir! Please get me help! I’m hurting! Please, sir! Please, sir!”
Also wounded was a second passenger, Hunter Tillis, 19.
Amid Wuenschel’s pleas, police officers can be heard, saying, “We’ve got one dead in the driver’s seat,” and “Hey! I’ve got two in the car!”
And then Wuenschel’s cries continue, repeating “Oh my God!” and “Oh my God, sir, please call me an ambulance! Please!”
The Ledger-Enquirer obtained the video from authorities in Russell County, where a grand jury this past May viewed the footage before clearing Brown of any wrongdoing. He since has resigned from the police force.
Wuenschel and Tillis were treated for their wounds and released from the hospital. They face felony theft charges.
Redwine’s family has hired an attorney to sue over his death. Wuenschel’s Columbus attorney Michael Garner has said he’ll file suit on her behalf.
The dashboard video begins in Columbus, as Brown races to catch up to the chase.
Columbus police said Redwine aroused suspicion when officers saw the Pontiac cruising past closed businesses around 4:30 a.m. near Columbus State University’s main campus on University Avenue.
Checking the tag, they learned the car had been reported stolen by Fred Levins, a friend of Redwine’s grandmother who was like a grandfather to the teen. Around 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 6, Levins noticed it was missing along with his car keys.
When police tried to stop the car, Redwine sped away, initiating a chase that continued into downtown Columbus and crossed the 13th Street Bridge into Alabama, where Phenix City police joined the pursuit.
On the video, Brown can be heard telling dispatchers Redwine is going 98 mph as he races west on 13th Street, and 80 mph after turning north onto Opelika Road. Brown says the Pontiac takes the ramp onto the J.R. Allen Parkway at 75 mph, and gets up to 107 mph heading east back toward Columbus.
But then Redwine takes the last Phenix City exit onto Riverchase Drive, where he soon runs off the road, and Brown catches up.
In the fusillade of gunfire that followed, Redwine was shot seven times, Wuenschel two or three times, and Tillis at least twice, Garner said.
Police said Brown fired on the belief that Redwine was trying to run him down.
“He tried to run me over in reverse, and that’s when I took him out,” Brown can be heard telling other officers on the video. “But then as he rolled back in reverse and tried to put it in drive, where I started hearing it revving, so I fired a few more times and he finally stopped.”
He’s also recorded saying he inserted a fresh magazine during the shooting, reloading his weapon after the first barrage.
Officer cleared, teens charged
During the Russell County grand jury proceedings in May, Brown waived his rights and volunteered to testify before the 18 jurors, who spent two days reviewing the evidence. Prosecutors did not recommend charges, but asked the grand jurors to determine whether the shooting was justified, said Russell County District Attorney Ken Davis.
Among other witnesses testifying were two more Columbus officers experienced in the department’s training and procedures, and an Alabama Bureau of Investigation agent who probed the shooting, Davis said.
A hearing in the Columbus theft case against Wuenschel has been set for Aug. 18 before Superior Court Judge Gil McBride, said Garner, who is trying to have her case tried separately from Tillis’.
Garner also has filed a motion asking McBride to order authorities to turn over evidence in the case. He argued investigators in Alabama already presented what they had to a grand jury, but defense attorneys here had received only some police reports.
Wuenschel and Tillis were charged after officers searching the Pontiac found property taken in car break-ins at Columbus’ Midtown Medical Center on Center Street and the Country Inn & Suites on Fountain Court, police said.
The purse and jewelry were found on the Pontiac’s floorboard by the front passenger seat, and the name tag was found in Redwine’s pocket, officers said. One tablet was in the backseat with Tillis and the other was in a pocket behind the driver’s seat, police said.
The car burglaries occurred on the evening of Nov. 5, 2016, hours after Redwine left his Cherokee Avenue home in the Pontiac.
An April 21 indictment charges Wuenschel and Tillis with auto theft for the Pontiac and two counts of second-degree burglary for the car break-ins. It alleges they took jewelry from a 2005 Lexus at the 710 Center St. hospital and electronics and a purse from a 2013 Ford Edge at the 1720 Fountain Court inn.
Court records showed Redwine had previous run-ins with the law, but none involved violence.
He pleaded guilty in August 2016 to credit-card fraud and stealing a motorcycle. He more recently faced a burglary charge, and was out of jail on his own recognizance when he was killed.
Court records show he pleaded guilty to using a Phenix Pride credit account at the 3617 Hilton Ave. CVS Pharmacy on June 14, 2016, and to stealing a Kawasaki motorcycle on May 6, 2016. Through the county’s “rapid resolution” program to plea out minor cases, he got three years’ probation with orders to pay restitution.
On June 21, 2016, he and a woman were charged with shoplifting an LG cell phone from the 2602 Manchester Expressway Dollar General. He got 12 months’ probation.