State v. McKiver, 369 N.C. 652 (Jun. 9, 2017)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held that the statements made by an anonymous 911 caller informing the police of a possible incident involving a firearm and describing the suspect were nontestimonial. The circumstances surrounding the caller’s statements objectively indicate that the primary purpose was to enable law enforcement to meet an ongoing emergency. The primary purpose of the call was to inform the police of a possible dispute involving an unidentified man brandishing a firearm outside the caller’s home on a public street in a residential subdivision. The caller reacted by going to her home and staying away from the window and an officer retrieved his patrol rifle before entering the scene. “As is evident from the precautions taken by both the caller and the officers on the scene, they believed the unidentified suspect was still roving subdivision with a firearm, posing a continuing threat to the public and law enforcement.” To address this threat, an officer requested that the dispatcher place a reverse call to the caller to get more information about the individual at issue and, once received, quickly relayed that information to other officers to locate and apprehend the suspect. [Author’s note: For more information about the Confrontation Clause, see my judges’ benchbook chapter here.]