Witnesses: Man jumped onto truck hood before fatal shooting
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Two witnesses told police that a man shot by an off-duty North Carolina deputy jumped onto the hood of the deputy’s truck, videos released Friday show. Fayetteville Police officials made portions of three police body camera videos public a day after a judge gave them permission to do so. In one of the recordings, which lasts 49 seconds, multiple people tell a police officer they saw or heard something last Saturday when off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Lt.
Jeffrey Hash shot Jason Walker. “That fellow jumped up on the hood and he jumped out his car and shot him,” one man says of Walker and Hash. Walker was Black; Hash is white.
Another man says he heard four gunshots, while a woman is heard asking about an entry wound. In the background, Hash can be heard telling another officer that he was driving down the street when Walker ran across the road. Hash said Walker jumped onto his truck and he stopped driving.
He also said Walker started screaming, and that his wife and child were inside the truck. At the end of the video, a man identifies himself as Walker’s father. “That’s my son, he’s my son,” the man says.
In a second, minutelong video, the self-identified father says Walker jumped onto the truck and pulled off one of the windshield wipers before Hash got out and shot him. In response to a question from the officer, the father says he doesn’t know if his son has any mental health issues. In a third, nearly three-minute-long video, a woman who identifies herself as trauma nurse Elizabeth Ricks says she treated Walker at the scene.
Ricks acknowledges that she “didn’t see it all happen,” but adds, referring to Walker, “I didn’t see him pose a threat.” “He didn’t have anything on him, or anything like that,” Ricks says. “I don’t know if he was mentally unwell or anything.” Ricks adds that when she reached the scene, she heard Hash say he was trying to protect his family.
At a news conference on Thursday night before the video was released, family attorney Ben Crump said that, while the sequence of events wasn’t entirely clear, a disagreement between a pedestrian and a driver shouldn’t escalate into the use of deadly force – especially when the driver is a sworn law enforcement officer. “He was supposed to be trained to protect and serve life, not to take life,” Crump said of Hash. “He was supposed to be trained to deescalate situations, not escalate situations. And so, what was it about that training that didn’t apply on that particular day?”
Fayetteville Police officials said they are reviewing the rest of the approximately 20 hours of video recorded and will submit another request to the court to release it. Under a North Carolina law passed in 2016, body and dash camera footage is not public record. Anyone can ask a court to order its release, however.
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