Fayetteville, NC – An autopsy released Thursday revealed a man who was fatally shot after running out into the street and jumping on the hood of a passing truck occupied by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy and his family died after being hit by at least four rounds.
Investigators said the suspect ripped off the vehicle’s windshield wiper and used it to shatter the windshield in multiple areas.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the suspect’s family, said the autopsy proves off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeffrey Hash used excessive force against 37-year-old Jason Walker during the Jan. 8 incident, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
The autopsy report listed Walker’s manner of death as homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds.
“The information in this official autopsy report confirms what we already knew – that Jason Walker was killed unjustly in cold blood by off-duty deputy Jeffrey Hash,” Crump declared in a statement issued on Thursday, according to The Fayetteville Observer.
Despite Crump’s claims, autopsies do not actually confirm if shootings were legally justified.
“This is clearly excessive,” he added. “A trained law enforcement officer knows that shooting someone that many times and in those parts of the body is shooting to kill…”
Crump said he will continue to “push for transparency” from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCBI), The Fayetteville Observer reported.
Walker’s family has also demanded that Lt. Hash be charged with murder.
“The family of Jason Walker is demanding murder charges be filed against Hash by the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys,” the civil rights lawyer noted in his statement.
The off-duty sheriff’s lieutenant was driving past Walker’s home on Bingham Drive with his wife and daughter shortly after 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 8 when the incident occurred, the Daily Mail reported.
Cell phone footage captured Lt. Hash telling a Fayetteville police officer that he shot Walker after Walker jumped onto the hood of his moving pickup, ripped off the windshield wiper, and began beating on his windshield, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
A nearly four-minute recording of the 911 call Lt. Hash made after the shooting was released by the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) on Jan. 11, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
The lieutenant provided the dispatcher with his location before explaining what had transpired.
“I just had a male jump on my vehicle and broke my windshield,” he said. “I just shot him. I am a deputy sheriff.”
“You said you shot him?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes, he jumped on my car, please,” Lt. Hash confirmed, according to The Fayetteville Observer.
The dispatcher asked the lieutenant if he was near Walker.
“I am. He’s gone. He’s gone, ma’am,” he explained.
She then asked if he was breathing.
“No, ma’am, he is not. He’s gone,” Lt. Hash responded.
The lieutenant told the dispatcher a crowd was beginning to gather and that officers were needed, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
“I was driving down the road and he came flying across Bingham Drive, running, and then 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,” Lt. Hash said in the 911 recording. “I had my wife and my daughter in my vehicle.”
He said he didn’t know if the suspect was armed.
Walker’s own father corroborated Lt. Hash’s account of the events.
Bodycam footage showed the elder Walker telling police he saw his son jump on the hood of the family’s truck just before Lt. Hash got out and shot him, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
Lt. Hash called 911 after the shooting, but Walker succumbed to his wounds at the scene, according to the Daily Mail.
Although one witness claimed Walker was hit by the truck and thrown up onto the hood prior to the fatal shooting, evidence from the scene did not support that account, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said shortly after the incident, according to WTVD.
Chief Hawkins said the “black box” of Lt. Hash’s pickup did not register “any person or thing” impacting the vehicle, WTVD reported.
“That black box was crucial to determine that vehicle did not impact anything or anyone,” Chief Hawkins told reporters, according to The Fayetteville Observer.
She confirmed the evidence showed that Lt. Hash’s windshield wiper was torn from the pickup and that the windshield was broken in multiple areas using the metal portion of the wiper, WTVD reported.
The autopsy determined Walker was shot in his neck and head area, torso, left upper back, and left thigh, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
Walker was not under the influence of “alcohol or common drugs of abuse” at the time of the incident, toxicology tests revealed.
Police do not believe Lt. Hash and Walker knew one another, Chief Hawkins said.
Lt. Hash, a 17-year veteran of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright confirmed to The Fayetteville Observer shortly after the fatal shooting.
Walker’s family said they don’t believe what investigators have said about what allegedly transpired.
“He wasn’t the kind of guy you know to stir up violence,” one of Walker’s relatives told the news outlet. “He was a very humble soul. Everyone that knows him, knows him to have a gentle heart–soft spoken, well-mannered, hardworking individual. He had an incredible sense of humor.”
They claimed Walker was just trying to cross the street when Lt. Hash hit him with his pickup, then got out and shot him twice in the back, according to the Daily Mail.
The NCBI is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal incident, according to Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West.
West said his office will refer the case to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys for any possible prosecution, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also launched an investigation to determine whether or not Lt. Hash violated Walker’s civil rights, according to WTVD.