Autopsy: Black man shot by off-duty deputy had 4 wounds

FILE – Pandora Harrington, right, cries as she holds a sign with an image of Jason Walker during a demonstration in front of the Fayetteville Police Department, Jan. 9, 2022, in Fayetteville, N.C. An autopsy released Thursday, March 24, 2022, by North Carolina’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that 37-year-old pedestrian Jason Walker had wounds to his head, chest, back and thigh in the Jan. 8 shooting. The deputy has said he was defending himself after Walker jumped on the hood of his truck. The shooting prompted protests by demonstrators who questioned authorities’ account of what happened. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

A Black pedestrian fatally shot by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy earlier this year was hit four times during the altercation in a busy North Carolina street, according to an autopsy released Thursday. 

The autopsy released by North Carolina’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that 37-year-old Jason Walker had wounds to his head, chest, back and thigh in the Jan. 8 shooting in Fayetteville. 

“The cause of death is listed as multiple gunshot wounds,” the report said. 

The report noted that no alcohol or illegal drugs were found in his system.

Two witnesses recorded on police body camera video, including one who identified himself as Walker’s father, told officers that Walker, who was on foot, jumped onto the hood of the vehicle driven by the off-duty deputy. Walker’s father also told officers that his son ripped off one of the truck’s windshield wipers. The videos do not show the shooting or what led up to it.

The off-duty deputy, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeffrey Hash, who is white, told officers that he was driving down the road in Fayetteville when Walker ran into the street, and he stopped, according to the previously released video. Hash told a 911 operator that Walker broke his windshield. 

Accompanying the autopsy was an report on the circumstances of death compiled by a medical examiner who came to the scene. The report, also released Thursday, said that Walker charged at Hash after he got out of his truck to ask him why he ripped the wipers off. 

The shooting prompted protests by demonstrators who questioned authorities’ account of what happened. 

An attorney for Walker’s family, Ben Crump, has previously said a disagreement between a pedestrian and a sworn officer, who’s trained to deescalate situations, shouldn’t result in use of deadly force. 

On Thursday, Crump issued a statement saying that the autopsy confirms that Walker was killed unjustly. 

“A trained law enforcement officer knows that shooting someone that many times and in those parts of the body is shooting to kill. Jason should still be alive today,” Crump said. 

The State Bureau of Investigation has been looking into the shooting, as is routine in cases involving officers.

Attorney Parrish H. Daughtry, who is representing Hash, noted that the autopsy report cannot say which shots came first or which injuries were most severe. 

North Carolina law provides complete immunity in situations where a person is acting in self-defense, Daughtry said.

“I can say that this investigation very much involves those claims,” Daughtry said.

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