A state autopsy report Thursday ruled Andrew Brown Jr.’s death a homicide after North Carolina sheriff’s deputies, who are not facing charges in the case, shot him in the head.
Brown, a Black man, was shot in April as deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve a warrant for his arrest. Law enforcement surrounded Brown’s car, who tried to drive away, his family has said, before deputies opened fire.
The state report confirmed the finding in a family autopsy released days after his death that Brown died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.
The report also said Brown was shot in the right arm and suffered lacerations and other wounds to his right thigh, right arm and upper back. He had a low level of methamphetamine in his bloodstream, too, but it “likely did not play a role.”
Brown’s death sparked protest and calls for justice in Elizabeth City as authorities did not immediately release bodycam footage of the shooting. State law requires a judge’s approval for release.
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The prosecutor handling the case, Andrew Womble, said last month the deputies involved in the shooting won’t face charges as they were justified in their use of deadly force. Womble said Brown struck a deputy in his car and almost ran him over as Brown ignored deputies’ commands.
Brown’s family, however, has insisted the father was not a threat to officers and was driving away because he feared for his life.
“The autopsy results prove what we’ve always known to be true: Pasquotank County deputies executed Andrew Brown Jr. with a kill shot to the back of the head. The false narrative that DA Womble has attempted to weave is completely discredited by this autopsy report,” attorneys for Brown’s family, which include civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, said in a statement Thursday.
The FBI is investigating the case, and attorneys for the family have said they plan to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the deputies and the department.
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Last week, a sheriff’s deputy involved in the shooting, Aaron Lewellyn, resigned, Sheriff Tommy S. Wooten II said, offering no reason for the resignation.
Two other deputies who had also been placed on leave after the shooting, Daniel Meads and Robert Morgan, returned to work last week, Wooten said. Wooten said the deputies would be disciplined and retrained.
Contributing: The Associated Press