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7 deputies on administrative leave following Andrew Brown shooting, Pasquotank County sheriff says

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Posted at 6:32 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-24 14:56:59-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Seven deputies are on administrative leave following Wednesday's fatal shooting of Andrew Brown.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten told News 3 Friday that three deputies resigned, but those deputies weren't involved in the incident.

"I would really ask the citizens of this community to trust me," Wooten told News 3. "Please stay calm. We just need a little bit more time to let this investigation unfold."

Wooten says District Attorney Andrew Womble isn't sure the body camera footage of the shooting should be released before the investigation is complete and says he plans to look into if anything can be done on his end to release it.

"The [DA] is worried somewhat that releasing it before the investigation is over would hinder the investigation, but yes I can look into that and I plan on looking into that very soon," said Wooten, adding that he has now viewed the footage. Citing the ongoing investigation, he declined to comment further on what the video shows.

Wooten says the investigation has hit the department hard with now 10 fewer deputies on the streets compared to just a week ago. "I can confirm with you [the deputies involved] are completely devastated - completely and utterly devastated," he said. "That's about as far as I can go right now."

An outside agency will also be conducting an internal investigation to determine whether the deputies violated internal policies. "We cannot have true justice without having a credible and hugely accountable investigation - every nook and cranny, no stone unturned, not one fraction of a second of body camera footage won't be torn apart and looked at," he said. "We have to let that happen to have true justice in all aspects, so it just takes a little bit of time."

This news comes after the sheriff held a Facebook live session Friday afternoon at a local church.

According to the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office, a search warrant was conducted in the 400 block of Perry Street at around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. A deputy shot and fatally wounded the resident while serving the search warrant, officials said. That resident was later identified as Brown.

In a video statement released Thursday night, Wooten and Deputy Chief Daniel Fogg said Brown's warrant was for felony drug charges and added that he "was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest."

Community members have been peacefully protesting, demanding for the release of the body camera footage and hoping it will show the events leading up to the shooting.

For a third night in a row Friday, demonstrators filled the streets demanding answers in Brown’s death.

The calls for change, the marches, the community standing together - all moments that resonated with Brown’s son, Jharod.

“I appreciate everybody for your support,” he said. “I’m going through a lot right now.”

Quentin Jackson is the Regional Director for the National Black Caucus of local elected officials. He said he’s been friends with Brown for 10 years and was with him the night before he was killed.

“We know he’s not known to carry a weapon,” Jackson said. “We know he’s not violent. You should not be dead. You should not lose your life behind this.”

People in community said they won’t stop making their voices heard until there is transparency and accountability.

“We don’t want to be treated differently by the color of our skin,” said Kirk Rivers, a community activist.

Sheriff Wooten told News 3 Friday that he did see the body cam video and while he can’t talk about it, he said he plans on looking into getting it released soon.

The Pasquotank Co. chapter of the NAACP, local city officials and the Brown family attorney spoke after meeting with the district attorney on Thursday. They are also calling for the release of the body camera footage as well as a chance to speak to the sheriff.

Womble and Pasquotank County Attorney R. Michael Cox released a joint statement saying that the body camera footage cannot be released at this time due to North Carolina law, but the attorneys are working to arrange a private viewing of the footage by Brown's family.

City council members held an emergency meeting Friday to direct the city attorney to file a petition with the court for the footage.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation.

Stay with News 3 for updates.