Andrew Brown Jr. died from a fatal gunshot to the back of head, his family and family attorneys said Tuesday, citing the results of an independent autopsy. The finding bolsters their claim that Brown was "executed," the relatives said.
"It was a kill shot to the back of the head" that cost Brown his life, family attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday as his office released the results.
Brown's family commissioned the autopsy after Pasquotank County, N.C., sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, last Wednesday while carrying out search and arrest warrants at his home in Elizabeth City.
The autopsy also found other bullet wounds to Brown's body. The first shots went through the front windshield of Brown's car, attorney Wayne Kendall said, adding that he suffered four bullet wounds to his right arm.
Kendall described those initial injuries as "glancing" wounds. He said Brown was still able to turn his car away from the deputies before being shot in the lower part of his skull.
After being shot, Brown lost control of his car and crashed into a tree, Crump said. The fatal shot was fired from "intermediate" range, the autopsy report said. It noted that the bullet was left lodged in Brown's brain.
The North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not released a report of its autopsy on Brown's body.
The independent results were released one day after Brown's family was allowed to see 20 seconds of body camera footage from last week's deadly encounter when deputies shot and killed Brown.
Family members who saw a snippet of video on Monday said the deputies fired at Brown as he tried to drive away from them.
"He got executed," Brown's son Khalil Ferebee said Monday. "It ain't right."
The autopsy was conducted by Dr. Brent Hall, Crump said.
The autopsy findings support early claims that Brown was shot from behind – recordings of radio scanner traffic from the time captured emergency personnel saying that Brown was shot in the back.
Brown's relatives said they want to see the entire footage from the time of the shooting — and numerous political leaders and media outlets are calling for the video recordings to be released publicly.
The fatal encounter between Brown and the deputies "was quick and over within 30 seconds," Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said on Monday, as he announced his office had asked a judge to approve the video's release.
A court hearing on the request to release the video footage is scheduled for Wednesday, according to the Brown family's lawyers. North Carolina law requires that step as agencies generally do not have the authority to make such recordings public.
Elizabeth City has seen large and peaceful protests since Brown's death. Over the weekend, police said the demonstrations had not resulted in property damage or arrests.
But with the possible public release of the video looming, Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker issued an emergency declaration on Monday, citing the potential for unrest.