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.
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.
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.
He was shot in the back of the head.
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) May 18, 2021
This #AndrewBrownJr press conference is a MESS. What is this man talking about? Did he really think this was going to go well?!
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) May 18, 2021
BREAKING: District Attorney Andrew Womble said Tuesday that the deputies who fatally shot Andrew Brown Jr. last month were justified in using deadly force, citing a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation probe.
No deputies will be charged @BNCNews
— Astrid Martinez (@astridtv1) May 18, 2021
Dr. @LauraMcNeal reacts to D.A. Andrew Womble’s decision to not prosecute deputies in the Andrew Brown Jr. case. “I think that we have to consider the standard in general that we’re using to evaluate these cases because they’re set up to disadvantage members of our community.” pic.twitter.com/IH3fH5fgRw
— BNC (@BNCNews) May 18, 2021
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.
If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma triggered by this story, resources are available for you here.