Local News

Family of slain suspect in Fayetteville hospital shooting says it wants answers

Posted November 19, 2019 9:23 p.m. EST
Updated November 20, 2019 6:14 a.m. EST

— The family of a man killed by a Fayetteville police officer during a shooting inside Cape Fear Valley Medical Center this month is speaking out.

Around 8:20 a.m. on Nov. 6, a Cumberland County Sheriff's Office deputy and 31-year-old Treva Smutherman got into a "scuffle" in which Smutherman tried to grab the deputy's gun, officials said. Officials said Smutherman shot the deputy and was then killed by a responding police officer.

On Nov. 8, the Fayetteville Police Department identified the officer as Detective Tyler Newman, 30.

Now, Smutherman’s family members said in an interview with WRAL's Gilbert Baez that they want answers from law enforcement and the hospital. They also want to know what could have been done to prevent Smutherman from being killed.

Smutherman’s family members and lawyer Allen Rogers said they will always remember the five gunshots inside the hospital that took his life. His mother, Laura Smutherman-Malcolm, is desperate for answers.

"I don't need nobody covering up stuff ... I really need to know what happened," Smutherman-Malcolm said.

A patient at Cape Fear Valley Hospital shared video with WRAL News of the scuffle between Smutherman and the Cumberland County deputy. During the altercation, police say Smutherman shot the deputy. Smutherman was then shot and killed by Newman, who was at the hospital for another investigation.

Smutherman’s aunt questions if the officer’s actions were justified.

"Did he have his hand on the gun? I mean, did he have the gun in his hand for them to shoot him down like that?" Allison Smutherman asked.

Smutherman’s family wants video footage from the hospital and bodycam footage from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and Fayetteville Police Department. A spokesman from the sheriff’s office said Tuesday night that deputies don’t wear body cameras.

A Fayetteville Police Department spokesman officers must turn off their body cameras in hospitals because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The family will have to request footage from camears in the hospital's emergency department through court, the spokesman said.

It's a fight Smutherman’s family is willing to put up.

"As long as I have breath in my body, we're going to fight and we're going to find out what happened because that's our right," Allison Smutherman said.

Smutherman’s family also claims a nurse at the hospital said to "shoot him" and "not treat him."

Treva Smutherman's funeral is planned for Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at Fuller Center in Fayetteville.

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