An off-duty law enforcement officer’s shooting of a Black man in Fayetteville sparked protests Sunday afternoon, as at least two people disputed the initial law enforcement narrative of how the man died.
The shooting took place just after 2:15 p.m. on Saturday along Bingham Drive, when Jason Walker, 37, was struck by the truck of an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy, according to a Fayetteville Police Department news release.
The deputy, whom police did not identify, proceeded to shoot Walker. He then called 911, police said.
Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.
The police department said a preliminary investigation determined Walker “ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle.”
But at least two people who say they were at the scene disputed that narrative on social media, claiming the deputy hit Walker as he was crossing the street and then shot him.
A video they posted appeared to show the scene shortly after the shooting.
What the video shows
In the video, a man the people posting on social media identify as the deputy can be seen standing by a red truck and speaking over the phone, while another man, who they say is Walker, lies on the ground near the back of the vehicle.
Sirens blare in the background as a woman, who one of the people who shared the video says is her, crouches down and appears to apply pressure to the man’s wound.
“People are hostile right now,” the driver identified as the deputy says in the video.
“Nobody is hostile,” a man across the street says. “Don’t you (expletive) say that.”
“I don’t know where the entry point is,” the woman giving aid says. “He won’t tell me where he shot him.”
About a minute into the video, police officers arrive on the scene.
“I was coming down here,” the driver tells them. “He ran across the street, so I stopped. He jumped on my car, started screaming.”
The driver says the man pulled on his windshield and hit the glass.
When officers ask the man recording the video if he saw the shooting, he replies “that’s my wife,” referring to the woman applying aid.
“I don’t know how many times he shot him,” she tells paramedics.
As they begin to work, she moves to the driver and says something to him.
“Ma’am, I’m going to protect my wife and my child,” he says.
An officer interjects, stating, “We’re not doing this right now.”
“You have a vehicle,” she tells the driver.
The News & Observer has reached out to those who posted the video and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office for more information.
Investigators with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have taken over the shooting investigation, Fayetteville police said.
Police Chief Gina Hawkins and Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West will hold a news conference at 5:30 p.m. Sunday regarding the investigation, the department said.
When reached by The N&O, Fayetteville Police Sgt. Jeremy Glass declined to comment further on the incident, deferring to the later news conference.
Demonstrations planned in Fayetteville
In the aftermath of the shooting, local activists rallied against the law enforcement agencies.
The Fayetteville Activist Movement said members of the community would gather outside the sheriff’s office at 3 p.m. to demand the arrest of the deputy.
“When Fayetteville Police arrived they did not disarm the shooter, they did not arrest the shooter, and worst of all they did not render aid to the victim,” the group claimed in a social media post.
Fayetteville PACT organized an additional demonstration at 4 p.m. outside the police department.
The incident gained attention on social media, with a TikTok video about Walker’s death garnering over 200,000 views as of Sunday afternoon.
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