District Attorney Andrew Womble said Tuesday that the Pasquotank County deputies who fatally shot Andrew Brown Jr. while serving a warrant last month were justified.
Womble, who cited a NC State Bureau of Investigation probe said, “while tragic, (the shooting) was justified because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others.”
Brown, 42, was killed by deputies as he sat in his car on the morning of April 21.
According to the initial autopsy, authorities fired several shots with five of them striking Brown in the back with a fatal one to the back of his head. Womble claims Brown’s vehicle made contact with officers before they took his life. A point of contention Brown’s family and their attorneys have disputed after being shown body cam and dash footage of the incident.
“It was absolutely, unequivocally unjustified,” attorney Chance Lynch said last month. “Our legal team is more committed now to pursue justice… Because what we saw today was unconstitutional and it was unjustifiable.”
“There were so many shots that we found difficulty in counting the number of shots that his vehicle received. At some point, there was a final shot, where it appeared that at that final shot Mr. Brown lost control,” Lynch added.
The killing at the hands of police has led to protests in Elizabeth City, N.C. against authorities. Mobs of angry citizens have say there has been a lack of transparency in wake of the evidence provided including a first hand account from a witness at the scene.
Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten said the three deputies who fired their weapons in the incident on April 21 will remain on administrative leave until further notice. The attorneys for Brown’s family have demanded that Womble recuse himself from the case, citing a conflict of interest with the sheriff’s office.
Members of Brown’s family, along with attorneys were allowed to view some footage from his death, but members of the community and lawmakers including Gov. Roy Cooper have called for unedited videos to be released to the public.