Elizabeth City, NC – Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said Friday afternoon that three deputies have resigned and seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation into Wednesday’s shooting death of 40-year-old Andrew Brown Jr.
The Elizabeth City City Council voted at an emergency meeting on Friday to have the city attorney petition to have bodycam video from the deputy-involved shooting released to the public immediately.
“We’re waiting for the bodycam footage because we really just don’t know what happened,” Brown’s cousin, Hampton, told the Associated Press. “But if this is a case where he was killed, running away, unarmed, then we absolutely are going to pursue justice in whatever capacity that can be.”
Outraged community and family members have been protesting every day since Brown was fatally shot as he fled when Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies attempted to serve search warrants and arrest warrants at his home in the 400-block of Perry Street off Roanoke Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. on April 21, WNCN reported.
But when deputies arrived with the warrants, witnesses said that Brown got into his car and started to leave.
That’s when multiple deputies opened fire.
“Our deputies attempted to serve the arrest warrant. They fired the shots. They’ve been put on administrative leave until we know all the facts,” Sheriff Wooten said a statement on Thursday.
Authorities initially said the deputies were serving search warrants when Brown fled, but later reports included the information that they also had warrants for Brown’s arrest.
Dare County issued two arrest warrants for Brown on drug-related charges on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
Court records showed the charges included possession with intent to sell cocaine and possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, WRAL reported.
“This was an arrest warrant around a felony drug charge,” Pasquotank County Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg explained. “Mr. Brown was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest. Our training and our policy indicate under such circumstances, there is a high risk of danger.”
Sheriff Wooten said a Dare County law enforcement officer was also present when they tried to serve the warrants.
Protesters became further enraged when it was revealed in radio traffic on Broadcastify that Brown was allegedly shot in the back during the incident, WRAL reported.
Sheriff Wooten initially said that all of the deputies involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is conducted as is protocol for all deputy-involved shootings, WRAL reported.
The announcement on April 23 of three resignations in connection with the shooting death of Brown only served to heighten tensions in the city.
The sheriff did not provide any details about the resignations.
BREAKING: Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten says 7 deputies are on administrative leave following Wednesday’s shooting. Another 3 deputies have resigned since Wednesday. The sheriff the video could be released in the next couple days. @WAVY_News
— Jason Marks (@jasonmarkswavy) April 23, 2021
District Attorney Andrew Womble, who handles prosecutions for both Dare and Pasquotank counties, said his office wasn’t rushing the investigation because they wanted “accurate answers, not fast answers.”
Court records showed the Brown had an active criminal history dating back to the early 1990s.
His aunt, Glenda Brown Thomas, told the Associated Press that Brown was partially-paralyzed on his right side from an accidental shooting and had lost an eye during a stabbing.
He had seven children but was unable to get and keep a job between drugs and his criminal convictions.
“Because they’re convicted… they can’t get no jobs,” she said. “It’s crazy.”
Thomas said Brown earned money to support his children other ways, including gambling on card games and pool, the Associated Press reported.
His aunt said Brown sent his father money every month when he was in prison.
Brown’s mother was killed when in Florida when her son was 12 or 13 years old, and he dropped out of school shortly thereafter, according to Thomas.
Friends and relatives said that despite Brown’s criminal history, he wasn’t known to be violent, the Associated Press reported.
“No matter what his past reflects, it still doesn’t give him (the deputy) the right to shoot him, period,” Daniel Bowser, a lifelong friend of Brown, said.
Authorities have not said whether Brown was armed when he was shot.
The investigation is ongoing, the Associated Press reported.