US police shooting: Black man shot dead by officer in North Carolina

Andrew Brown, 42, was shot dead by a police officer on Wednesday.
Andrew Brown, 42, was shot dead by a police officer on Wednesday. Photo credit: Twitter - @boltsandbombers

A Black man has been shot and killed by a police officer in North Carolina.

The officer, a sheriff's deputy, fatally shot 42-year-old Andrew Brown while serving a search warrant on Wednesday morning (local time), authorities said.

An eyewitness claimed Brown was struck while attempting to drive away from the deputy, who fired several shots in his direction. Brown's car skidded out from his property in Elizabeth City before hitting a tree. 

Demetra Williams, who lives on Brown's street, ran outside after hearing gunshots. Williams says Brown was already dead and "slumped over" as officers opened the car door and began performing CPR, the Associated Press reports.

Pasquotank County sheriff Tommy Wooten confirmed the shooting at a press conference on Wednesday. He said the deputy was wearing a body camera during the incident and has since been placed on leave pending a review by the state bureau of investigation, but wouldn't provide further details. 

Dozens of people gathered in front of the Elizabeth City town hall following Brown's death to express their outrage at the latest officer-involved shooting, holding signs emblazoned with "Black Lives Matter" and "Stop killing unarmed Black Men." 

A group of more than 200 demonstrators then formed outside the sheriff's office in protest. 

"The police didn't have to shoot my baby," Brown's aunt, who was part of the group, told local media. 

She said Brown was a "good person".

"He was about to get his kids back. He was a good father. Now his kids won’t never see him again [sic]."

According to the Associated Press, the Elizabeth City council held an emergency meeting in response to the incident.

The killing of Brown comes at a time of already heightened tensions regarding policing practices in the US, following the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin, formerly of the Minneapolis Police Department, was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Wednesday in the killing of 46-year-old Black man George Floyd last May.

Floyd's death sparked an international outcry, propelling the Black Lives Matter movement in its fight against police brutality towards Black people. 

Brown's death also follows that of a girl reportedly aged around 15 to 16, who was shot dead by police in Ohio on Tuesday.