The fatal shooting of a man by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina is under state investigation
(CNN) - State authorities in North Carolina are investigating the killing of a man Saturday by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, who told authorities the person had jumped on his vehicle.
The man killed was identified by the Fayetteville Police Department as Jason Walker, a 37-year-old Black man.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office identified the deputy as Lt. Jeffrey Hash.
His attorney told CNN on Wednesday that the shooting was self-defense.
“Lt. Hash is devastated for the family of Mr. Walker, he’s devastated for his own family, he’s devastated for his community,” Parrish Daughtry, the attorney representing Hash, said.
Citing a North Carolina law that includes a stand-your-ground provision, Daughtry added that the investigation “involves claims of self-defense, defense of others and defense of vehicles.”
According to a statement Saturday by Fayetteville police, a preliminary investigation showed Walker “ran into traffic and jumped on (the) moving vehicle” that the sheriff’s deputy was driving. “The driver of the vehicle shot (Walker) and notified 911,” police said.
Authorities on Tuesday released the 911 call from Hash.
“I had a male jump on my vehicle and break my windshield. I just shot him,” Hash told the dispatcher in the nearly four-minute call. “He jumped on my vehicle. I just had to shoot him.”
Hash said that as he was driving, Walker “came flying across Bingham Drive running.”
“I stopped so I wouldn’t hit him and he jumped on my car and started screaming; pulled my windshield wipers off, and started beating my windshield and broke my windshield. I had my wife and my daughter in my vehicle,” Hash said.
CNN obtained the call as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.
At a news conference on Sunday, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins said that an analysis of the vehicle’s so-called “black box” showed that “that vehicle did not impact anything or anyone,” and a windshield wiper had been torn off and used to break the windshield in several places.
On Saturday evening, a person who said they were “first on scene” posted video that began in the moments after Walker had been shot and just before authorities arrived.
The video shows a man standing near the driver’s side of a red pickup truck while making a call on a cell phone. A person appears to be lifeless and bleeding on the ground beside him, and at least two people appear to be trying to offer aid to the person on the ground.
Uniformed police officers arrive approximately 45 seconds after the video starts. There is crosstalk and much of the audio is difficult to understand, but one of the first arriving officers asks a small group of people at the scene, “Who saw it?”
One man responds, “I didn’t see it; we heard it.” Another man responds, “I didn’t see sh*t.”
Another officer speaks to the man who appears to have been driving the truck. He tells the officer, “I was coming down here, he ran across the street, so I stopped, he jumped on my car and started screaming... (unintelligible) beating the glass. I have my daughter and my child in here.”
When asked about the video at the news conference Sunday, Hawkins said that she had seen the video.
“It’s important to share some of the confirmed facts of this case with the public to ensure transparency as this investigation proceeds,” the chief said.
The chief said that the weapon used by the off-duty sheriff’s deputy was not his service weapon, and declined to say how many shots he fired, or where the shots hit Walker.
Officer placed on administrative leave
Hawkins said she asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation on Saturday night to “take the lead in the investigation.”
A spokesperson for the state agency confirmed that it was investigating.
“Anyone who witnessed the incident, knows of anyone who witnessed the incident or has video of the incident before, during or after,” should contact the agency, the spokesperson said.
No charges have been filed in the case and the investigation remains ongoing, a spokesperson for the agency told CNN.
The local district attorney, Billy West, said he has asked the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys -- an independent prosecutorial agency -- to be assigned in order to avoid a conflict of interest.
On Monday, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Hash, who has been with the department since 2005, was “placed on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation.”
“Our sincere condolences go out to Jason Walker’s family,” the department release said.
Protests and marches have taken place in Fayetteville this weekend, according to CNN affiliate WRAL. Protesters were “united” in asking who was being held responsible for Walker’s death, WRAL reported.
One of the protest organizers spoke Tuesday night to CNN affiliate WTVD.
“Here in the city of Fayetteville we’ve had actually a lot of incidents just like this but they go swept under the rug,” protest co-organizer Myah Warren told the station Tuesday night. “So the message is now that we’re standing unified ... and we’re not going to back down until justice is served.”
Walker was a single father of a young son, WRAL reported.
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