*A Sheriff’s deputy in Pasquotank County, North Carolina shot and killed 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr. while serving a search warrant Wednesday, sparking more protests and the immediate release of body camera footage.
Authorities wouldn’t provide further details, but eyewitnesses said that Brown was shot while trying to drive away, and that deputies fired at him multiple times. The car skidded out of Brown’s yard and eventually hit a tree, said Demetria Williams, who lives on the same street and ran out of her house when she heard the gunshots.
“When they opened the door (to the car) he was already dead,” Williams told The Associated Press. “He was slumped over.” She said officers tried to perform chest compressions on him.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputy was placed on leave pending a review by the State Bureau of Investigation, Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said at a news conference. Wooten said the deputy shot Brown about 8:30 a.m. and was wearing an active body camera at the time. Wooten declined to identify the officer or say how many shots were fired, citing a pending review by the State Bureau of Investigation. Wooten also did not say what the warrant was for.
Watch his full press conference below:
Meanwhile, tensions rose as dozens of people gathered at the scene of the shooting in Elizabeth City, a municipality of about 18,000 people 170 miles (274 km) northeast of Raleigh. Watch below:
A large crowd later stood outside City Hall while the City Council held an emergency meeting. As the evening wore on, a group gathered in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office and a crowd that grew to more than 200 blocked traffic on a main thoroughfare of the city, forcing cars to turn around.
“The police didn’t have to shoot my baby,” said Martha McCullen, an aunt of Brown who said she raised him after his parents died. McCullen stood on the stoop of Brown’s rental home, her eyes moist with emotion.
Williams, who was among those protesting at City Hall, said Brown, who was known by neighbors as “Drew,” wasn’t a violent person. “I didn’t believe that (officers) really did that because he wasn’t a threat to them. He was driving off even though he was trying to get away.”
Brown’s grandmother, Lydia Brown, and his aunt Clarissa Brown Gibson told The Associated Press that they learned about his death through a TV news report. Both said they want the shooting thoroughly investigated.
“I am very upset. Andrew was a good person,” Lydia Brown said. The deputy “didn’t have to shoot him like that.”
Clarissa Brown Gibson said: “We want to know if he was served with a warrant, why the shooting over a warrant?”
Among those who gathered at the scene of the shooting was Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County chapter of the NAACP.
“When is it going to stop? We just got a verdict yesterday,” Rivers said in a phone interview, referring to the guilty verdicts handed down Tuesday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. “Is it open season now? At some point, it has to stop. We have to start holding the people in charge accountable.”