North Carolina District Attorney Andrew Womble said at a press conference Tuesday that the deputy-involved shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. “while tragic, was justified.”
This means that no officers will face criminal charges.
Womble said that Brown was shot at by three Pasquotank deputies, whose actions were “justified because Brown’s actions caused deputies to reasonably believe it necessary to use force to protect themselves and others.”
He proceeded to play four body camera videos.
Brown ignored directions to stop, and began to drive his car directly at one of the officers. Womble said the first shot fired at Brown’s car went through the front windshield, not the back – which was previously reported.
According to Womble, Brown used his vehicle to commit assault with a deadly weapon.
If you aren’t familiar with the story, deputies were attempting to conduct a drug-related search and serve an arrest warrant, which resulted in the fatal shooting outside his Elizabeth City home in April.
During the press conference, Womble said a Deputy who tried to open Brown’s car door wound up on the hood as Brown reversed, and the deputy found himself in the car’s path moments later. The deputy had to push off the car with his hand to avoid being run over, and Brown’s vehicle then made contact with a second law enforcement officer, Fox News reports.
“I find that the facts of this case clearly illustrate the officers who used deadly force on Andrew Brown Jr. did so reasonably and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to put their lives in danger,” he said. “Brown’s actions and conduct were indeed dangerous by the time of the shooting…Brown posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers and others.”
A total of five shots were fired at Brown’s vehicle as he fled the scene.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time Brown made trouble with law enforcement. Weeks before the shooting, Detective R.D. Johnson received information from a confidential source that Brown was selling drugs in Dare County.
The informant made two undercover buys – cocaine and heroin – from Brown in March. According to lab analysis, the heroin was laced with fentanyl. Det. Daniel Meads of the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant for Brown’s residence and vehicle and two additional arrest warrants were obtained for the sale of controlled substances.
Brown also had multiple resisting arrest charges and convictions dating back to 1995, assault, assault with a deadly weapon and assault inflicting serious injury convictions.
The three deputies involved in the shooting -Investigator Daniel Meads, Deputy Robert Morgan and Cpl. Aaron Lewellyn – have been on leave since the incident occurred.