In Fayetteville, the fatal shooting of Jason Walker by a deputy sparks protest
Updated 1:30 p.m. Monday
Protesters gathered outside a Fayetteville police station Sunday to decry the fatal shooting of a man named Jason Walker a day earlier by an off-duty sheriff's deputy.
Police in Fayetteville said a preliminary investigation shows that Jason Walker, 37, "ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle," a truck driven by an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff's deputy. The deputy, Jeffrey Hash, shot Walker and then called 911, police said.
Walker, who was Black, was pronounced dead on the scene. The sheriff's office on Monday said Hash, who's been with the department since 2005, had been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
A group of protesters who demonstrated outside the Fayetteville police station Sunday disputed the account given by police.
Elizabeth Ricks, who said she witnessed the incident and applied pressure to Walker’s wound, told the crowd Walker was attempting to cross the street to get to his home when he was struck by the deputy’s truck and then shot by him.
Ricks told the News & Observer she was on the scene and watched the entire situation unfold. As a trauma nurse, she jumped into action and tried to save Walker’s life.
“I did not see anyone in distress. The man was just walking home,” said Ricks.
Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said during a news conference Sunday that investigators examined the black box computer of the truck, which did not record any impact with any person or thing. In bystander video of the shooting's aftermath, it appears the off-duty deputy had been driving a red truck that wasn't a law enforcement vehicle. She said the only person at the scene who indicated they witnessed what happened said Walker was not struck by the truck.
Hawkins said investigators noted that a windshield wiper was torn off the truck and the metal portion was used to break the windshield in several places.
“We would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened,” Hawkins said.
Investigators with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have taken over the shooting investigation, Fayetteville police said.
WRAL-TV spoke with Walker's family, who described him as a happy go-lucky man with a big heart.
“I was sad. That’s my best friend. We were really close,” said cousin Brittany Monroe. “It really broke my heart because he would never hurt anyone. I don’t understand how it could happen to him. He would do anything for anybody.”