ELIZABETH CITY — A North Carolina deputy shot and killed a Black man while executing a search warrant Wednesday, spurring an outcry from a crowd of dozens that immediately gathered at the scene and demanded accountability from law enforcement.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputy was placed on leave pending a review by the State Bureau of Investigation.
Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said at a news conference that the deputy shot Andrew Brown Jr. about 8:30 a.m. while serving the warrant in the city of about 18,000 people.
Wooten did not identify the deputy and did not say why the warrant was being served.
According to court records, Brown was 42 years old and had a history of drug charges and a misdemeanor drug possession conviction.
The deputy was wearing an active body camera at the time of the shooting, according to Wooten. He declined to say how many shots the deputy fired or release any other details, citing the pending review by the SBI.
A car removed from the scene appeared to have multiple bullet holes and a broken rear windshield.
Among the roughly 100 people who gathered at the scene of the shooting was Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County chapter of the NAACP. He criticized the sheriff’s office for taking hours to release details.
“When is it going to stop?” Rivers said. “Is it open season now? At some point, it has to stop. We have to start holding the people in charge accountable.”
At an emergency meeting of the City Council, Councilman Gabriel Adkins told his colleagues that businesses in the neighborhood of the shooting had begun boarding up their windows in anticipation of violence.
“I’m afraid as a Black man,” an emotional Adkins said, as a crowd of more than 100 people gathered outside the meeting, which is closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. Later he added, “It hurts to be a Black man at this time. ... We’re hurting.”
Councilman Darius Horton called for the immediate release of bodycam footage, the search warrant and a speedy explanation of what led to the shooting.
“We need transparency. And not only do we need transparency, but we need accountability,” he said. “We need answers. ... Let’s not hide behind anything.”
The State Bureau of Investigation will turn the findings of its review over to District Attorney Andrew Womble, who pledged a thorough and deliberate inquiry.
“What we are looking for at this time will be accurate answers and not fast answers,” Womble said at the news conference. “We’re going to wait for the full and complete investigation.