North Carolina sheriff’s deputies who fatally shot Andrew Brown Jr., a 42-year-old Black man, will not face charges because the shooting was “justified,” District Attorney Andrew Womble said.
“Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others,” Womble said at a press conference on May 18.
According to Womble, Brown ignored orders when deputies confronted him outside his house in Elizabeth City last April 21 to serve a search warrant related to a felony drug investigation. Brown allegedly drove towards three deputies, using his car as a “deadly weapon” to try to escape, Womble said.
Womble cited the results of the investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation as basis for his decision not to file the charges against the officers involved in the 44-second encounter.
Attorneys for Brown’s family described Womble’s decision in a statement as an “attempt to whitewash this unjustified killing.”
“To say this shooting was justified, despite the known facts, is both an insult and a slap in the face to Andrew’s family, the Elizabeth City community, and to rational people everywhere,” the attorneys stated.
An independent autopsy commissioned by Brown’s family showed Brown was shot five times, including once in the head. Meanwhile, the death certificate said Brown was shot twice — once in the shoulder and once in the the head.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten identified the three deputies who opened fire at Brown as Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Sheriff II Robert Morgan, and Corporal Aaron Lewellyn.
Four other deputies involved in the encounter were allowed to return to duty after initially being placed on administrative leave.
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