Family of man shot by Cumberland County deputy says incident wasn’t handled properly

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Family of a man shot multiple times by a Cumberland County deputy in September 2018 said they want answers and believe protocol wasn’t followed.

On Sept. 4, 2018 around 3 a.m., Cumberland County deputies responded to a 911 call reporting domestic violence at a home on Armadillo Drive in Fayetteville.

Dashcam video released to CBS 17 shows the deputies cruiser approach the mobile home with two men standing outside. One of the men enters the home before the deputy parks the vehicle.

The second man, Timothy Smith, pulls a handgun out of a bag and takes an aggressive stance before firing the gun in the air.

At that point, it is apparent the deputy, who is off-camera, fires shots – striking Smith. He falls to the ground with the gun still in his hand.

Timothy Smith fires a shot into the air in front of Cumberland County deputies.

While the dash camera was recording video, audio recording was not activated until after shots were fired.

Smith can be heard saying “I don’t have nothing. I don’t have nothing,” as he lies on the ground.

Deputies do not approach Smith for the next 25 minutes as they work to get the people inside the mobile home to come out. On multiple occasions, deputies demand they come out with their hands up.

Three people eventually emerged from the mobile home – including the man who was seen outside the residence when the deputy arrived on scene.

At that point, deputies approach Smith, with weapons drawn, and begin to render aid. EMS show up minutes later and transport him to the hospital.

Smith’s mother, Lashaunda Whitlock, said her son shouldn’t be charged with assault on an officer because he fired in the air.

“Where did assault on an officer come from? Where did that charge come from?” she asked CBS 17’s Kayla Strayer.

Whitlock said deputies should have approached the situation differently so aid could have been rendered sooner.

“I just think a different approach would have made the incident a lot less severe,” Whitlock said.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said deputies needed to secure the scene first and make sure no one else had a weapon.

Kathy Greggs, vice president of the Fayetteville Police Accountability Task Force, also believes deputies should have handled the situation a different way.

“That deputy should have deescalated the situation by trying to get him to drop his weapon not shooting directly at him,” Greggs said.

Both women said a different protocol should have been followed by officers because Smith has a known mental illness.

Whitlock and Gregg said deputies should have tried talking to Smith instead of shooting, even after he fired the shot in the air.

“We want answers and we want to know why procedure was not followed,” Greggs said.

Prior to the Sept. 4, 2018 shooting, Smith had been arrested 24 times.

The most violent, according to court documents, was a 2016 attempted murder charge. He was arrested for stabbing his girlfriend at the time and her son. 

Records show the girlfriend dropped the charges.

District Attorney Billy West said that, in some domestic cases, the state can still move forward with the case, even without the victim. That didn’t happen in the 2016 stabbing case.

“In some domestic violence cases we can proceed without the victim and do, however, in others there is not enough evidence without their testimony and participation,” West said in a statement.

Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright wouldn’t go on camera on Tuesday to discuss the shooting but said his deputies followed proper protocol and the video speaks for itself.

Immediately following the shooting, Wright posted a video to Facebook about the incident.

West is still reviewing the case of Smith’s shooting.

Smith is still being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center after being charged with possession of firearm by a felon and felony assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm in relation to the incident.

“I want my questions answered. It’s been a year my son has been detained for a year,” Whitlock said.

The deputy who fired the shots at Smith quit the sheriff’s office following the shooting.

CBS 17 is not naming the deputy as they have not been charged.

More headlines from CBS17.com:

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