An investigation is underway after a North Carolina man was shot and killed by police officers on Wednesday morning.
The deceased man was identified as 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr., according to the Associated Press. The shooting occurred in a residential area in Elizabeth City, a predominately Black municipality about 170 miles from Raleigh.
Deputies from The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office were acting on a drug search warrant. A day after Brown’s death, the office released a video statement from Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg, who claimed the officers were on high alert because of his criminal history.
“Mr. Brown was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest,” Fogg said in a video statement. “Our training and our policies indicate that under such circumstances, there is a high risk of danger.”
However, witnesses claim Brown was trying to drive away when the cops opened fire on his vehicle. It is unclear if the car was already moving when the bullets started flying, reported CNN.
Demetria Williams, a resident who lives on the street where Brown died, claims the deputies were “standing behind his car he was trying to get away.”
“And they stood behind him,” said Williams. “I couldn’t tell you what, who shot him. I couldn’t do that. But one of the officers or maybe a couple shot him.”
Another unidentified neighbor told CNN the shots were “rapid fire.”
The car kept moving after Brown was shot and crashed into a tree moments later. Williams watched the deputies pull Brown out of the car.
“When they opened the door, he was already dead,” Williams told The Associated Press. “He was slumped over.”
Like many others, Brown leaves behind a grieving family.
“The police didn’t have to shoot my baby,” Martha McCullen, his aunt, told The Associated Press. “Andrew Brown was a good person. He was about to get his kids back. He was a good father. Now his kids won’t never see him again.”
The deputies involved have not been named but they have been placed on administrative leave. Brown’s death is being investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.