FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – An off-duty Cumberland County deputy will not face charges in the shooting death of Jason Walker in Fayetteville in January.
Jason Walker, 37, of Fayetteville, was shot to death after jumping on the hood of a truck in the middle of Bingham Drive around 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 8, according to a police press release at the time.
The man who shot and killed Walker was later identified as Jeffrey Hash, a Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was off duty at the time of the fatal shooting.
Kimberly Overton Spahos with the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys is the special prosecutor assigned to the case and announced Thursday there will be no charges against Hash.
“This shooting is indisputably tragic, but based upon these facts, the State of North Carolina will not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting of Jason Walker was unlawful. Consequently, our office will not be seeking charges related to the death of Jason Walker,” Spahos said.
Hash was driving on Bingham Drive with his wife and teenage daughter in his F-150 truck when he approached Shenandoah Drive.
“Before they got to Shenandoah Drive, Hash and his wife noticed Jason Walker running across Bringham Drive. Walker was yelling, waving his hands in the air, and appeared to be agitated,” the report said.
At that point, Hash stopped his truck and Walker was approximately 30 feet away from the vehicle.
“For an unknown reason, Walker then ran directly toward Hash’s truck and got on top of the hood,” the reporter from the prosecutor said.
At that point, Walker ripped off a windshield wiper and began beating the truck’s windshield.
Hash and his wife repeatedly told Walker to stop and get off the truck but he did not stop hitting the windshield, the report notes.
Walker was hitting the windshield with such force that it began to cave in – sending pieces of glass onto Hash and his wife.
Hash then opened his door but didn’t put the truck in park.
When the deputy got out of the vehicle, Walker lunged at him with an object in his hand all while Hash’s wife was attempting to put the truck in park, the report said.
Hash fired four shots – hitting Walker four times. An autopsy found no evidence or injuries that would show Walker was hit by the truck, the report said.
Hash called 911 immediately after the shots were fired.
A woman in a passing car stopped at the scene – Hash at first told her to “keep moving” but the woman identified herself as a trauma nurse.
She began to render aid to Walker and apply pressure to his wounds before police arrived.
She also told officers she was a trauma nurse.
“She was not and has never been a nurse,” the report from Spahos said.
Walker died at the scene.
A report released by Spahos said Hash believed he, his wife and child were in imminent danger when Walker jumped on the deputy’s truck and shattered its windshield with a metal windshield wiper.
Spahos said while Walker’s intent may have not been to enter the truck or injured anyone inside it, Hash had to make a “split-second decision.”
Attorney Parrish Daughtry told us her client, Hash, is relieved after hearing he would not be charged.
“But he’s concerned still for his community and he wants the community to move forward and heal,” Daughtry said.
She said she wasn’t surprised at the results of the investigation after hearing statements from her client and the victim’s father, who also witnessed the shooting. Daughtry said Hash was trying to protect his wife and teenage daughter who were in his truck at the time.
“He did not believe he had another option to escape alive,” she said. “He had a lawful right to step out of his vehicle to try to stop an attack. So, even if you’re in your home extends to what the law finds is cartilage which is the outside of your home.”
Janice Walker, Jason Walker’s mother, said the state’s self-defense laws needs to be amended because her son’s death was “excessive.” She is disappointed, upset and disagrees with how her son’s death investigation ended.
“Justice for me for this case…go and be presented before a grand jury so that they can make a decision. Yes she may have reviewed the facts, yes he may have gave his statement, yes some other witnesses may have gave a statement and we may have said some things, but the only way for justice to reveal is that a grand jury decide this case,” Walker said. “We were presented with (the) ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ that may have very well been the case, and if that even be the case, the law needs to be amended.”
Finally, the Walker Family’s Attorney Ben Crump released a statement late Thursday evening.
“The decision from the special prosecutor to not press charges against Jeffrey Hash is upsetting to everyone who knew and loved Jason in his life and has mourned his untimely death. This case speaks to the need for reform of the North Carolina Laws and their equivalents across the nation that allow unnecessary deadly force as a means of self-protection, which we often see loosely interpreted. Laws like the one protecting Jeffrey Hash disproportionately justify killings of people of color; the parameters need to be strengthened to prevent the protection of people who are quick to pull the trigger and end a life. Of all people to be able to properly deescalate a situation, a trained police officer like Hash should have been capable of knowing the implications of ending a life and all of the possible steps to avoid doing so.”