The shooting took place Wednesday morning in a working-class neighborhood of Elizabeth City in the northeastern corner of the state.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff Office said Wednesday during a news conference that it was attempting to serve a search warrant on Andrew Brown Jr. when the shooting occurred.
Neighbors told CNN that deputies opened fire on the vehicle that Brown was driving, though it was unclear if the deputies started to fire before or after the car was in motion.
Demetria Williams said Brown was driving, causing mud to splatter on the side of a home. A second neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave the same account. The mud on the home and a deep tire mark were still visible on Thursday when CNN visited.
“By the time I got here, they was standing behind his car he was trying to get away,” said Williams, who lives just down the road. Williams showed CNN where the car was situated and said the tires were spinning mud during the incident.
“And they stood behind him,” said Williams. “I couldn’t tell you what, who shot him. I couldn’t do that. But one of the officers or maybe a couple shot him.”
“It is a horrible thing to witness ” another neighbor who spoke on condition of anonymity told CNN. She said she heard gunshots, describing it as “rapid fire.”
Both Williams and the witness who asked for anonymity said the vehicle, after driving through an open lot, crossed another street, struck a tree and came to rest. Two neighbors tell CNN that deputies pulled Brown out and attempted lifesaving medical intervention.
A man who lives at the home where the vehicle came to rest said authorities had recovered a bullet from his home. The entry point just to the right of his front door was still visible.
At least one deputy has been placed on administrative leave in the wake of Brown’s shooting death, according to Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten. The sheriff and other officials told reporters they weren’t going to comment on details of the investigation of the shooting.
“We understand the need for transparency and will release what information we can when we’re able to release it,” SBI officials said.
While authorities have not given information on what led up to the incident, and specifically, whether Brown was armed, his family says he “never carried a gun.”
“That’s my favorite nephew. He never carried a gun. He didn’t own a gun,” Pete Brown told CNN.
The deputy involved in the shooting is on leave, according to the the sheriff.
Wooten told reporters at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that deputies wore body cameras and they were activated. The footage has not been released.
The SBI said in its statement that it takes a court order in North Carolina to get body camera footage released.
“Any requests as it relates to the release of such video should be directed to the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office or the District Attorney’s Office,” the statement said.
“Here we are again outraged to hear of yet another Black man dead, allegedly at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve. The murder of Andrew Brown in Elizabeth City, NC, Black man, 40-years of age and a father of 10 on the morning after the guilty on every count verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin screams for increased scrutiny of the policing system,” officials with the NC NAACP said, adding they “will not stand idly by and watch North Carolina become another Minnesota.”
Brown’s aunt Clarissa Gibson said she initially heard about the shooting on the news before finding out it was in fact her nephew who was shot and killed. Gibson told CNN on Wednesday she believes Brown was unarmed at the time of the shooting because he didn’t typically carry a gun.
Brown’s former girlfriend Patrice Revelle, who said she shares five children with Brown, told CNN that “Drew didn’t own a gun. He didn’t carry a gun.”
Revelle, who was not present at the time of the shooting, was adamant Brown would not have been armed.
Wooten said he will not comment on the number of shots fired because an investigation will reveal those details.
Gov. Roy Cooper told CNN in a statement that he “is aware of the incident and believes that there should be a full investigation.”
“We must continue to work toward accountability and justice in communities across our state,” the governor said in a statement.
After the meeting, several members spoke to an angry crowd gathered outside.
Council member Darius Horton drew cheers when he told the protesters that he was calling for authorities to release immediately the deputy’s body camera footage.
“I do believe in the coming days or coming hours that footage must be released,” he told CNN. “Because that’s the only way these people are going to calm down.
Elizabeth City has about 18,000 residents and is just west of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and about a 45-mile drive south of Norfolk, Virginia.