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North Carolina Deputy on Administrative Leave After Fatally Shooting Unarmed Man While Off Duty

Fayetteville, N.C. – A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy has been placed on administrative leave after fatally shooting an unarmed Black man over the weekend.

According to the Fayetteville Police Department, Deputy Jeffrey Hash told authorities he was driving home around 2 p.m. on Jan 8 when Jason Walker, 37, ran into traffic and jumped on top of his vehicle. The deputy, who was in the car with his daughter, said Walker ripped his windshield wiper off and began beating on the windshield while screaming. 

On Tuesday, authorities released the call Hash made to 911 the day of the encounter.

“I was driving down the road, and he came flying across Bingham Drive running,” Hash said to the 911 operator. “Then I stopped so I wouldn’t hit him, and he jumped on my car and started screaming, pulled my windshield wipers off and started beating my windshield and broke my windshield. I had my wife and my daughter in my vehicle.”

Hash told the operator that Walker did not have a weapon, other than the windshield wiper he had ripped off the truck. 

During the 911 call, Hash doesn’t explain to the operator how the shooting happened, however Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins has confirmed that the shot fired at Walker did not go through the truck’s windshield.

Walker’s family is disputing the deputy’s account of the story and doesnt believe Walker jumped on the officer’s truck.

“I don’t believe he threw himself on top of a truck,” one of Walker’s cousins told ABC11. “I believe he wanted to live. I just want justice for my cousin because it’s not adding up.”

During a protest in Fayetteville on Sunday, Walker’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Ricks, told protesters that Walker was shot at least four times and no officers ran to his aid.

“He was not acting crazy, he didn’t jump on traffic,” Ricks said during a speech. “That officer murdered him.”

Ricks, a trauma nurse, told WRAL News she was on the scene and tried to save Walker’s life.

Ricks claimed she witnessed the incident and told the News & Observer that her boyfriend was headed across the street just outside his home when he was struck by the officer’s vehicle before Hash shot and killed him.

“I did not see anyone in distress. The man was just walking home,” she said.

“It breaks my heart he didn’t survive and I’m trying to cope with that as well. I don’t want to take away from Jason or the injustice and I’m not going to be silent.”

During a news conference Sunday, Police Chief Hawkins said investigators examined the truck’s “black box” and it “did not record any impact with any person or thing” before the shooting.

Hawkins also said investigators confirmed that a windshield wiper had been torn off the truck and the metal portion was used to break the windshield “in several places.”

“We know many in our community have heavy hearts and they are grieving,” Hawkins said at the conference. “Any time a death occurs, the community should be upset.” 

Hash, who has been with the Cumberland county sheriff since 2005, was taken into custody but not arrested. On Monday, he was put on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation. By Tuesday, no charges had been filed.

The Fayetteville Police Department is investigating the incident along with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations (NCSBI), Hawkins said.

Hawkins said she asked the NCSBI to lead the probe into Walker’s death and asked anyone who saw the incident or has video of what transpired to immediately get in contact with the agency.

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