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Black man shot by off-duty Cumberland County deputy, sparking protest
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Black man shot by off-duty Cumberland County deputy, sparking protest

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FAYETTEVILLE — Protesters gathered outside a police station Sunday to decry the fatal shooting of a Black man a day earlier by an off-duty sheriff's deputy in North Carolina.

The demonstrators disputed an initial account of the shooting given by police Saturday. Police in Fayetteville said a preliminary investigation shows that Jason Walker, 37, "ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle," a truck driven by an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff's deputy. The deputy, who was not identified by police, shot Walker and then called 911, police said.

Walker was pronounced dead on scene.

A group of protesters who demonstrated outside the Fayetteville police station Sunday disputed the account given by police.

Elizabeth Ricks, who said she witnessed the incident and applied pressure to Walker's wound, told the crowd Walker was attempting to cross the street to get to his home when he was struck by the deputy's truck and then shot by him.

Ricks told the News & Observer she was on the scene and watched the entire situation unfold. As a trauma nurse, she jumped into action and tried to save Walker's life.

"I did not see anyone in distress. The man was just walking home," said Ricks.

Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said during a news conference Sunday that investigators examined the black box computer of the truck, which did not record any impact with any person or thing. In bystander video of the shooting's aftermath, it appears the off-duty deputy had been driving a red truck that wasn't a law enforcement vehicle. She said the only person at the scene who indicated they witnessed what happened said Walker was not struck by the truck.

Hawkins said investigators noted that a windshield wiper was torn off the truck and the metal portion was used to break the windshield in several places.

"We would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened," Hawkins said.

Investigators with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have taken over the shooting investigation, Fayetteville police said.

WRAL-TV spoke with Walker's family, who described him as a happy-go-lucky man with a big heart.

"I was sad. That's my best friend. We were really close," said cousin Brittany Monroe. "It really broke my heart because he would never hurt anyone. I don't understand how it could happen to him. He would do anything for anybody."

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