Live Updates

The latest on the police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Body-cam video in shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. shown to public for the first time
04:14

What you need to know

  • The Pasquotank County district attorney said the deputies who fatally shot Andrew Brown Jr. last month were justified in using deadly force, citing a state investigation. He said no officers will be criminally charged. 
  • Brown was fatally shot April 21 when Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, were trying to execute a warrant.
  • Attorneys for the Brown family are demanding both the report and full body-camera videos be released.

Our live coverage has ended. Read more about the district attorney’s decision here.

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North Carolina governor says federal officials should continue to investigate the shooting

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said a special prosecutor should have been put in charge of Andrew Brown Jr. case. 

“Federal officials should continue to thoroughly investigate this incident. Public confidence would have been better served with a special prosecutor and by quickly making public the incident footage. Our state should pass specific laws to increase transparency, confidence and accountability in the justice system,” Cooper said in a statement to CNN.

From the beginning, Cooper has called for the footage to be made public as well as a special prosecutor be assigned in the case.

Sheriff petitions court to release body-camera video in Brown shooting

In a court filing on Tuesday, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten is asking for a public release of the body-camera video in the Andrew Brown Jr. shooting. 

This comes after the district attorney announced earlier today that the deputies who fatally shot Brown last month were justified in using deadly force

In his petition, Wooten said now that the internal and criminal investigations have been completed, he is asking for an order to release the videos without redaction.

In North Carolina, body-camera video and recordings from law enforcement is not considered public record and can only be released through a court order.

The judge in the case previously declined a request by media to release the recordings.

3 deputies who fired shots at Brown will be reinstated and retrained, sheriff says

Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten

The three deputies who fired shots at Andrew Brown Jr. will be reinstated and retrained, Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said in a video statement after the district attorney announced the shooting was justified and no charges would be filed.

Wooten also announced disciplinary action would be taken against the deputies that responded to the scene.

“While the district attorney concluded that no criminal law was violated, this was a terrible and tragic outcome, and we could do better,” Wooten said.

Two deputies did not turn on their body cameras during the incident, Wooten said. “That is unacceptable, and those deputies will be disciplined,” he said.

He also said there was no medical team on standby near the scene, which is policy.

Wooten said the entire team will be reconfigured and retrained.

When asked her response to the sheriff’s message, Brown family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said, “I am not sure what the discipline is going to entail. They did not follow their own policies. They were not being safe during the entire interaction.”

When asked if she felt the deputies should be fired, “It needs to be severe discipline,” she said. 

Judge denies media coalition petition for release of video in fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

A North Carolina judge issued a written order on Monday ruling that video from four body cameras associated with last month’s shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. will not be released publicly at this time.

North Carolina law says body camera video is not a public record and cannot be released without a court order. Last month, a media coalition including CNN petitioned for the footage to be publicly released.

In his decision, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Foster held that six of the eight statutory factors governing release did not weigh in favor of the media coalition, including that public release would reveal information regarding a person that is of a highly sensitive and personal nature, may harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person, would create a serious threat to the fair and orderly administration of justice, and that confidentiality is necessary to protect an active internal or criminal investigation. 

The only factor that the court found weighed in favor of public release was that release of the footage is necessary to advance a compelling public interest.

The court’s decision was dated Monday and file stamped on Monday afternoon, hours before a North Carolina district attorney held a news conference showing four video clips that show Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies firing at Andrew Brown Jr. 

When asked at the news conference about his decision to present clips of the footage, District Attorney Andrew Womble noted that he had spoken to the judge prior to the conference about the video footage but did not obtain a court order. 

Womble explained that he could “display” the videos now that he has made his decision not to charge the deputies involved but would not be releasing copies of the footage.

North Carolina's attorney general calls on the court to release all videos in Brown's fatal shooting

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein on Tuesday called on the court to release all the video footage in the Andrew Brown Jr. fatal shooting.

“Andrew Brown Jr.’s family and many people in Elizabeth City and beyond continue to grieve, and I extend my deepest sympathy to them,” Stein tweeted.

“I continue to believe it is critically important to release the full body camera footage to the public. The trust in our criminal justice system that is currently fractured will only be more difficult to repair w/o complete transparency. Now that the investigation has concluded, it is imperative that the court authorize the release of the full video to the public immediately.”

Earlier Tuesday, Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble showed footage from multiple body cameras from the officers that responded for the first time. He said that in total the deputies’ encounter with Brown lasted 44 seconds.

Womble said that the deputies who fatally shot Brown last month were justified in using deadly force, saying Brown “recklessly” drove at the officers on scene while trying to flee arrest.

Attorneys for Brown's family: "We certainly got neither transparency nor justice today"

Attorneys for the family of Andrew Brown Jr. released a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble announcing that the deputies who fatally shot Brown last month were justified and will not be criminally charged.

“Andrew Brown Jr., his grieving family, and this community deserve answers. And they received anything but from D.A. Womble’s attempt to whitewash this unjustified killing. To say this shooting was justified, despite the known facts, is both an insult and a slap in the face to Andrew’s family, the Elizabeth City community, and to rational people everywhere,” Ben Crump, Bakari Sellers, Harry Daniels, and Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“We demand that the court release the full video and State Bureau of Investigation report that will help shed some much-needed daylight on this case and bring a small measure of justice to this family and this community. Because we certainly got neither transparency nor justice today. We request that the Federal Department of Justice intervene immediately,” the statement said.

Womble said Tuesday that the deputies who fatally shot Brown last month were justified in using deadly force, saying Brown “recklessly” drove at the officers on the scene while trying to flee arrest.

Attorney representing Brown's family says video shown today does not show him using vehicle as a weapon

Bakari Sellers, an attorney representing the family of Andrew Brown Jr., told CNN that the video that District Attorney Andrew Womble showed at Tuesday’s news conference at no point shows Brown using his vehicle as a weapon. 

Sellers told CNN that attorneys representing the Brown family believe that Womble never adequately explained the shot in the back of Brown’s head. 

Sellers went on to say that the attorneys would be filing a petition to release the entire contents of the body-camera video and the entire findings of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) probe.

Sellers also said that he believed that Womble should be off this case.

In coming to his decision not to charge the officers, Womble relied on an investigative report into the shooting conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. That report is not considered a public record and will not be publicly released, the SBI said.

Womble said Tuesday that the deputies who fatally shot Brown last month were justified in using deadly force, saying Brown “recklessly” drove at the officers on scene while trying to flee arrest. Four body-camera videos were shown to the public today of the incident for the first time.

CNN’s Madeline Holcombe and Eric Levenson contributed reporting to this post.  

The district attorney has wrapped up a news conference on the Brown shooting. Here's what happened.

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble just wrapped up a more than hour-long news conference on the April 21 shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

During the news conference, Womble showed body-camera footage from the incident for the first time.

If you’re just reading in now, here’s what you missed:

  • The district attorney said the officers’ use of deadly force was justified: Womble said that three deputies fired a total of 14 shots while trying to execute an arrest warrant against Brown. During the encounter, Brown was struck by bullets in the shoulder and head. “Mr. Brown’s death, while tragic, was justified because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others,” Womble said.
  • No officers will face criminal charges in the Brown shooting: Womble said that it was his conclusion that the police acted “reasonably.” He said, “The actions were consistent with the training and fully supported under the law in protecting their lives and this community.”
  • The district attorney played video footage of the shooting for the media: Womble showed footage from multiple body cameras from the officers that responded for the first time. He said that in total the deputies’ encounter with Brown lasted 44 seconds.
  • Womble has not spoken to Brown’s family about his findings: The district attorney said that he did not speak with Brown’s family before today’s news conference. “Our original discussions immediately after this occurred with Mr. Brown’s attorneys did not go well,” he added.

District attorney says he has not spoken with Brown's family about findings of state investigation  

From left, attorney Bakari Sellers, Andrew Brown Jr.'s son Khalil Ferebee and attorney Harry Daniel listen to a question during a news conference in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on May 11.

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said he has not spoken with Andrew Brown Jr.’s family about his announcement today that the deputies who fatally shot Brown last month were “justified” in using deadly force.

“That’s not the way I would normally want to do this,” Womble said when asked if he had spoken to the Brown family about the findings of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation probe.

“Our original discussions immediately after this occurred with Mr. Brown’s attorneys did not go well,” he said.

He said they attempted to hold a second meeting with the family, but attorneys were not present.

“Obviously, any party that is represented by counsel I have to be very careful in dealing with attorneys before I deal with parties. I was unable to do so, and at this point the relationship is just constrained to the point that I did not speak with them. I’d be happy to talk with them at length after this is over,” Womble said.

Womble also responded to calls to appoint a special prosecutor for the investigation. He said he felt “absolutely” confident to conduct an investigation without bias.

“I’m elected by the people of the first judicial district to do exactly this job. A special prosecutor, or outside counsel, is not accountable to the people of this judicial district. I am,” he said.

District attorney says one of the shots fired by police was found in a house

Asked during a news conference if all shots that sheriff’s deputies fired at Andrew Brown Jr. were found in his car, District Attorney Andrew Womble said one of the shots was found in a home in the neighborhood.

“There was one shot that we believe ricochetted and was found in a house,” Womble said.

Womble said earlier that deputies fired 14 shots during the encounter with Brown.

District attorney says no officer will be criminally charged in Brown shooting

Pasquotank County District attorney Andrew Womble said that after reviewing the evidence in the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. he has concluded that “no officer will be criminally charged.”

“The actions were consistent with the training and fully supported under the law in protecting their lives and this community,” Womble said.

The news conference is ongoing.

District attorney: Three deputies fired shots during the encounter with Brown

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said that a review of body camera footage from the shooting showed that “multiple shots were fired in rapid succession by three deputies.” 

He said that he found no evidence that the number of shots fired by the deputies was excessive, adding that “even if there are an excessive number of shots, the question is whether the perceived threat has been neutralized for the safety of law enforcement officers present.” 

He said that the sheriff’s deputies used the amount of force “deemed reasonably appropriate” by them.

District attorney: Autopsy determined Brown died from "multiple gunshot wounds"

Ulysses Edwards paints a portrait of Andrew Brown Jr. on the side of a house near where he was killed in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

District Attorney Andrew Womble said that an autopsy was conducted on Andrew Brown Jr. on April 22, the day after he was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies.

Womble said that the forensic pathologist that conducted the autopsy determined that Brown suffered two gunshot wounds. Brown was shot in the right shoulder and the back of the head at the base of the skull, the autopsy showed.

Womble said the forensic pathologist determined the cause of death to be “multiple gunshot wounds.”

The district attorney noted that although the autopsy and toxicology reports have not been finalized at this time, he had telephone contact on May 12 with the forensic pathologist that conducted the autopsy.

The district attorney is showing body camera videos from the scene of the shooting

District Attorney Andrew Womble is playing body-camera videos from the shooting incident on April 21 at a news conference.

Andrew Brown Jr. was fatally shot April 21 when Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, were trying to execute a warrant.

Earlier, Womble provided detail on what he said the videos depicted from the incident. He said in total, the incident lasted 44 seconds.

“The total length of officer involvement with Mr. Brown from the time they exited the vehicle until Mr. Brown was removed from the vehicle is 44 seconds,” Womble told reporters.

The news conference is ongoing.

District attorney outlines how the fatal encounter between Andrew Brown Jr. and officers took place

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble showed images from body camera footage of how the encounter between Andrew Brown Jr. and officers took place.

A deputy approached Brown’s car from the passenger side, according to Womble, and Brown was holding up his phone when law enforcement approached.

“Brown threw the phone down and began to rapidly back his car away from the officers. Deputy Lunsford’s hand was still on the driver’s door handle as Brown’s car reversed and the handle was snatched out of his hand. At this moment, Deputy Lunsford yelled out and Deputy Lunsford was pulled over the hood of Brown’s vehicle, where his body and his safety equipment were struck by the vehicle. Deputy Lunsford’s left arm was squarely on the hood. Deputy Lunsford took evasive action to get out of the way of the front left tire of Brown’s vehicle,” Womble said.

Womble said that law enforcement demands got “more heated,” and Brown did not stop his car.

“As Brown’s car starts forward, Deputy Lunsford was now positioned directly in front of the vehicle and all officers were shouting commands to stop. Brown ignored the commands and drove directly at Deputy Lunsford,” according to Womble.

“According to the North Carolina Justice Academy forensic analyst Casson Reynolds, the first shot was fired by Sergeant Meads, and it entered the front windshield of Mr. Brown’s car,” Womble said, repeating the statement.

Several more shots were fired, with one striking Brown in the shoulder and others entering the car. 

Brown accelerated across an empty lot, then “narrowly missed” striking a van operated by investigators, according to Womble.

His car struck a tree, and “the county team gave chase, removed Brown from the driver’s seat and life-saving efforts were immediately begun,” Womble said.  

Some more background: In the aftermath of the shooting, Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten put seven deputies on administrative leave. He has since reinstated four deputies he said did not fire their weapons. The three who did fire remain on leave.

Members of Brown’s family were allowed by a court order to view some body camera footage of his death, but they and members of the community have called for the public release of the videos.

CNN’s Madeline Holcombe and Eric Levenson contributed reporting to this post.

District attorney: Deputies who fatally shot Brown were justified in using deadly force

Andrew Womble, Pasquotank County’s district attorney, said at a news conference today that Andrew Brown Jr.’s death “while tragic was justified.”

“Mr. Brown’s death, while tragic, was justified because Mr. Brown’s actions caused three deputies to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves and others,” Womble said.

Womble is providing details on the police investigation of Brown leading up to the shooting on April 21. He said that Brown was a “known drug dealer” and that law enforcement investigations began “in the weeks prior” to his death.

According to Womble, two undercover officers bought cocaine and heroin from Brown on March 17 2021 and March 29, 2021.

Arrest warrants for the sale of controlled substances were issued on April 20, said Womble.

The news conference is ongoing.

NOW: District attorney holds news conference on deputy shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

District Attorney Andrew Womble is holding a news conference now and is expected to reveal the findings of a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) probe into the deputy shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Brown was fatally shot by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City on April 21 when they attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant, according to the sheriff’s office.

A source with knowledge told CNN that the Brown family has not received any advanced information on the findings.

Womble, the district attorney for Pasquotank and nearby counties, has said Brown’s moving vehicle made contact with law enforcement officers twice before the deputies opened fire. The family attorneys dispute that account.

Read more about the case here.

Andrew Brown Jr. posed no threat to officers, his attorney says

Chance Lynch, one of the Brown family attorneys, said he and the family were able to watch body and dash camera footage of Andrew Brown Jr.’s death last Tuesday, which they said proved police were unjustified in shooting him.

Brown was fatally shot April 21 when Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, were trying to execute a warrant.

Lynch said he saw Brown sitting in his vehicle when officers arrived and started yelling different things at Brown like “show your hands” or “get out.”

“At all times his hands were visible, you could see he was not a threat,” Lynch said. “It was so much yelling, we could barely understand what was happening.”

A shot was fired, Lynch said, and Brown put his car in reverse several feet from where the officers were standing.

“At no point did we see any police officers behind his vehicle,” Lynch said. “At no point did we see Mr. Brown make contact with law enforcement.”

District Attorney Andrew Womble, who is responsible for the district that includes Pasquotank County, said officers fired when the car Brown was driving moved toward them and the car made contact with officers at least two times before shots were fired.

Lynch said he did see officers firing their weapons at Brown’s car. He found it difficult to count how many shots were fired.

“When they approached the vehicle, we counted approximately six if not more bullet holes in the passenger side of his car,” Lynch said. “Windows were shattered. We were able to see one shot in the front windshield and approximately six (bullet holes) in the back windshield.”

Lynch said at some point there was a “final shot” at which point Brown lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree across the street. Officers pulled Brown’s body out of the car and laid him face first on the ground. No weapons were found in Brown’s car after police searched it.

“It was absolutely, unequivocally unjustified,” Lynch said. “Our legal team is more committed now to pursue justice … because what we saw today was unconstitutional and it was unjustifiable.”

The district attorney will hold a news conference shortly “to discuss the results” of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Brown’s fatal shooting.

The Brown family viewed police body camera video last week

Andrew Brown Jr.’s family members viewed body and dash camera footage of his death last Tuesday, which they said proved police were unjustified in shooting him.

Brown was fatally shot April 21 when Pasquotank County deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, were trying to execute a warrant.

Chance Lynch, one of the Brown family attorneys, said he and the family were able to watch six videos. The first video was a dash camera video with no sound, and the last five were all body camera footage.

“We were able to see some critical footage that yields some truth and transparency to what we thought we would see from the beginning,” Lynch said during a news conference last Tuesday.

Pasquotank County Chief Deputy Daniel Fogg said last Tuesday the video showed the attempt to serve an arrest warrant against Brown, as well as officers attempts to provide Brown medical care after the shooting.

“It was my hope that we will be able to release the video publicly so everyone could see for themselves what happened,” Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten added. “We respect the court’s decision and took an oath to abide by north Carolina law and we’ve done just that.”

The family and attorney’s viewing of the video came after Judge Jeff Foster issued a written order allowing for Brown’s family and one of their legal representatives to view the videos — but they will not be allowed to receive copies or make recordings.

Lynch said he saw Brown sitting in his vehicle when officers arrived and started yelling different things at Brown like “show your hands” or “get out.”

“At all times his hands were visible, you could see he was not a threat,” Lynch said. “It was so much yelling, we could barely understand what was happening.”

Read more here.

District attorney will discuss investigation into Andrew Brown Jr. shooting

Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble will hold a news conference shortly “to discuss the results” of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Brown was shot and killed by Pasquotank deputies serving a search warrant on April 21, according to the sheriff’s office. 

During a county commissioner’s meeting on Monday evening, several public comment letters were read that asked for the firing of the three officers, as well as called for charges to be filed against them and a special prosecutor to be assigned to the case.

Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten placed the three deputies who fired shots at Brown on administrative leave. Four other deputies who responded to the scene, but did not shoot were reinstated to active duty.

CNN has reached out to the State Bureau of Investigation on their findings in the investigation.

READ MORE

DA to reveal the findings from investigation into police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.
There's a database whose mission is to stop problematic police officers from hopping between departments. But many agencies don't know it exists
Attorneys for Andrew Brown's family will continue to petition for release of all videos of fatal shooting
Police body camera video shows Andrew Brown Jr. shooting was unjustified, attorneys say

READ MORE

DA to reveal the findings from investigation into police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.
There's a database whose mission is to stop problematic police officers from hopping between departments. But many agencies don't know it exists
Attorneys for Andrew Brown's family will continue to petition for release of all videos of fatal shooting
Police body camera video shows Andrew Brown Jr. shooting was unjustified, attorneys say