NC sees protests after off-duty deputy shoots Black man who police say jumped on moving truck
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North Carolina saw protests Sunday after video showing the aftermath of an off-duty deputy fatally shooting a Black man who authorities say jumped onto a moving pickup truck went viral.
Fayetteville police officers responded at 2:18 p.m. on Jan. 8 to a report of a shooting along Bingham Drive near Shenandoah Drive. It involved the driver of a pickup truck, only identified as an off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s deputy, who is accused fatally shooting a Black man named Jason Walker.
“The preliminary investigation has revealed an adult male ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle,” the Fayetteville Police Department said Saturday in its initial press release. “The driver of the vehicle shot the male subject and notified 911. The male subject was pronounced deceased on scene.”
At a press conference Sunday evening, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said investigators examined the black box technology of the truck, which logs speed, braking, impact and other events.
That computer did not record any impact with any person or thing, she said.
Investigators with the NC SBI have assumed the investigation surrounding the shooting that occurred on Jan. 8, 2022, along Bingham Drive. The investigation has revealed the driver of the truck, who shot Jason Walker, was an off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy.
(Fayetteville Police Department)
The chief said investigators currently had no witnesses claim anyone was hit by the truck. A review of body-worn camera footage showed individuals at the scene indicated they did not witness the incident.
“Investigators also noted that a windshield wiper was torn off, and a metal portion was used to break the windshield of the truck in several places,” Hawkins said, asking for patience during the investigation.
“Any time a death occurs, the community should be upset,” Hawkins said. “There are many postings on social media, and all too often rumors and unverified information begin to spread.”
“Please don’t share posts that are false or unverified,” the chief said. “Peaceful protests and questions about what happened are always appropriate… Spreading falsehood doesn’t help anyone, and it certainly doesn’t advance the cause of justice.”
Hawkins encouraged any additional eyewitnesses to contact the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) at 1-888-624-7222. Answering questions, Hawkins said the driver was taken into custody but was not immediately placed under arrest. The driver did not use a service weapon in the shooting, she said.
Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys will take over as an independent prosecutorial agency for the matter to avoid any conflict of interest, as the shooting involved an off-duty deputy.
Hawkins said the police department seized the weapon of the driver involved in the shooting. The chief also said officers did not immediately render aid because the woman already tending to the shooting victim before EMS personnel arrived was a “medical professional.”
A TikTok video went viral highlighting Facebook posts from individuals at the scene.
One Facebook user named Chase Holden Sorell shared video he recorded on his cellphone showing the driver on the phone standing outside his truck. The driver is seen passing a towel to another man who hands it to a woman rendering aid to the shooting victim on the pavement.
“People are hostile right now,” the driver tells someone on the phone, as sirens blare in the distance.
“Nobody is hostile,” a different man, standing shirtless at the scene, yells. “Don’t you f—–g say that.”
The woman rendering aid is heard saying, “I don’t know where the entry point is. He won’t tell me where he shot him.” She applies pressure to the shooting victim and blood is seen on the blacktop.
As officers arrive at the scene, the driver says he stopped when the man ran across the street and jumped onto his vehicle and started screaming. The driver is heard telling officers the man pulled his windshield wiper up and tried to break the glass as his wife and child were also inside the truck.
Video shows EMS arrive on the scene and appear to help the woman attending to the shooting victim.
As the paramedics take over, the woman walks over to the driver and tells him something inaudible.
“Ma’am, I’m going to protect my wife and my child,” he responds.
An officer interjects, “We’re not doing this right now.”
An activist group called the Fayetteville Activist Movement advertised a protest in honor of Justin Walker to be held at the Cumberland Sheriff’s Office building at 3 p.m. Sunday.
In a post to social media, the group claimed, “when Fayetteville Police arrived, they did not disarm the shooter, they did not arrest the shooter, and worst of all they did not render aid to the victim.”
“FPD proceeded to only share the shooter’s side of the story to social media before eyewitnesses on the scene revealed the truth,” the post said. “We’re tired of those in power protecting their own at the expense of our community. We have to stop this toxic culture of violence against our community.”
A second group, called the Fayetteville Police Accountability Community Taskforce, organized a protest outside the Fayetteville Police Department at 4 p.m. Sunday. Videos posted on the group’s Facebook page showed at least a dozen people chant “Jason Walker” while marching through the downtown area.
Fayetteville police encouraged anyone with information regarding the investigation to contact the SBI at 1-800-334-3000, Fayetteville Police Detective C. Crews at (910) 751-1046, or Crimestoppers at p3tips.com.
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