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District Attorney says shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was justified

Womble said Brown used his car as a deadly weapon while trying to escape

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Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed by deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office on April 21, 2021.
By: Alyssa Wilson

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble ruled the shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was justified, and the officers involved will not be charged. Brown, a 42-year-old Black father of seven, was shot and killed by county deputies on April 21, 2021.  

RELATED: Andrew Brown Jr. shooting: Family waits to see footage, state of emergency declared  

Womble said officers received information from a confidential source that Brown was selling drugs. He also said a detective, with the informant’s help, purchased cocaine and heroin from Brown on March 17, 2021, and March 29, 2021. “A later FBI lab analysis determined that the heroin was laced with fentanyl,” Womble said.  

After obtaining arrest warrants for Brown, officers tried to serve them on April 20, 2021, but they could not locate him. The next day, at approximately 5 a.m., officers held a briefing on Brown and around 8 a.m., Brown was located and officers arrived at his home.  

During the press conference, Womble showed body camera footage of the shooting to the public for the first time. A judge denied previous requests to have the video released to the media.  

RELATED: ‘Execution-style’: Family, attorneys of Andrew Brown Jr. react to body-camera footage 

The video showed the moments Brown tried to flee. A deputy had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by the car. A sergeant on the scene fired his weapon into the front window as the car continued to move forward. Several more shots were fired from the side and back of the car as Brown drove across a vacant lot. Brown’s car then hit a tree and officers removed him from the car and called for help, Womble said.  

According to Womble, none of the deputies involved have prior excessive use of force complaints against them. All seven deputies involved were placed on administrative leave after the shooting. Four officers, who did not fire their weapons during the shooting, were reinstated. The remaining three officers are still on leave.  

Brown’s family, who only saw a short, redacted version of the video, say he was killed “execution-style.” Results from their independent autopsy revealed Brown’s death was caused by a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Womble read the autopsy report from the medical examiner and confirmed that Brown was shot in the head and said he was also shot in the shoulder.  

Many took to social media to react to Womble’s announcement. They expressed their displeasure with the ruling, including Brown family attorney Bakari Sellers.  

Brown was laid to rest on May 3, 2021 in Elizabeth City. Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy and family members of George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Daunte Wright spoke and offered words of support to the Brown family.  

RELATED: Mourners gather in North Carolina for funeral of Andrew Brown Jr.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma triggered by this story, resources are available for you here.