Fayetteville, NC – A Cumberland County sheriff’s lieutenant has been placed on administrative leave after he fatally shot a man who allegedly ran out into traffic and jumped onto his moving vehicle while he was off duty on Saturday afternoon.
The lieutenant said his wife and child were inside the vehicle when the suspect allegedly attacked them, according to the Fayetteville Observer.
The incident occurred outside 37-year-old Jason Walker’s home on Bingham Drive shortly after 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 8, the Daily Mail reported.
Cell phone footage captured Cumberland County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeffrey 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.
But bystander Elizabeth Ricks claimed Lt. Hash hit Walker with the truck, throwing him up onto the hood, according to the paper.
She said the lieutenant then got out of the truck and shot Walker multiple times.
Lt. Hash called 911 after the shooting, the Daily Mail reported.
Walker died from his wounds at the scene.
During a press conference on Sunday, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina 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.
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.”
Walker’s family and friends marched to Fayetteville City Hall on Sunday, denouncing the police account of what occurred and demanding Lt. Hash be arrested, the News and Observer reported.
Some held signs reading “4 shots in the back,” “no justice, no peace,” and “enough is enough,” according to The Fayetteville Observer.
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.
Ricks, a trauma nurse, told the News and Observer she applied pressure to Walker’s wound as they waited for medical personnel to arrive.
Chief Hawkins said officers did not render first aid because Ricks is a medical professional.
“We currently have no witnesses who claim that anyone was hit by this truck,” Chief Hawkins told reporters, according to the News and Observer. “Individuals at the scene indicated they did not witness the incident.”
The chief noted that investigators did speak with a witness who insisted Walker was not struck by Lt. Hash’s vehicle prior to the shooting.
“Other than the gunshot wounds,” Walker did not have any injuries to suggest he’d been hit by a pickup, she told The Fayetteville Observer.
“We would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.
Police do not believe Lt. Hash and Walker knew one another, Chief Hawkins said.
She noted that a key purpose of the press conference was to clear up any “falsehoods” circulating about the case, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
“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 explained.
A nearly four-minute recording of the 911 call Lt. Hash made after the shooting was released by the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) on Tuesday, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
The lieutenant provided the dispatcher with his location before explaining what had occurred.
“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.
Ricks said Lt. Hash initially told her to move along when she pulled up to the scene, but that he urged her to “come here” after she explained she is a trauma nurse.
“I’m a deputy sheriff,” he told her while the 911 recording continued. “He jumped on my vehicle. I just had to shoot him.”
Lt. Hash then explained what happened to the dispatcher.
“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,” he told her. “I had my wife and my daughter in my vehicle.”
He said he didn’t know if the suspect was armed.
“He just tore my wipers off and started beating…he busted my windshield,” Lt. Hash said.
Ricks then told him Walker was still alive, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
“He has a light pulse right now,” Lt. Hash told the dispatcher. “I need EMS now!”
Ricks said she was unable to locate Walker’s entry wounds.
Someone asked Lt. Hash where Walker was shot so they could try to stop the bleeding, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
“I don’t know,” the lieutenant said. “He was on the front of my vehicle. He jumped on my car.”
“I don’t care about that,” Ricks interrupted. “Where is the entry point?”
“I do not know,” Lt. Hash reiterated.
The dispatcher then told the lieutenant not to engage with bystanders, at which point he told her that people were starting to become “hostile,” The Fayetteville Observer reported.
“No one is hostile. Don’t (expletive) say that. No one is hostile,” a bystander yelled, according to the paper.
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 Sheriff Ennis Wright confirmed to The Fayetteville Observer on Monday.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation 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.