Police responded to a 911 call about person with what appeared to be a shotgun walking down U.S. Highway 158, near a Dollar General store on Weeks Drive, at 10:40 a.m., Hess said. Shots were fired about six minutes later, he said.
David Earl Brooks Jr., 45, died of his wounds.
The State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the incident, Hess said, so he wouldn't provide many details at a Friday evening news conference, including who fired shots and how many were fired.
He did say that two of his officers are on paid leave and that investigators found a loaded sawed-off shotgun at the scene. No officers were hurt in the shooting, he said.
John Tucker III, who is Brooks' cousin, said Brooks was known to carry a gun but that he wouldn't use it in a violent way.
"I just don’t believe that he would do anything for them to take it this far," Tucker added. "He ain’t going to fight against authority. He already knows he can’t win, [so] why would he do that?"
Tanillya Partridge, a cousin of Brooks, is outraged over Brooks' death. She had a message for the police department on Friday.
"You shoot my cousin in the street like a dog. We want justice," she said through tears. "We are not going to stop until we get justice for David Brooks because he never hurt anybody."
Hess noted Roxboro hasn't had an officer-involved shooting in at least three decades. He said his officers are trained in handling mental health crises, de-escalation tactics in a confrontation and to issue a warning before any use of deadly force.
Roxboro police are "familiar with Mr. Brooks," Hess said, adding that his department is collecting information about past interactions to hand over to SBI investigators.
"[The officers] are heartbroken with the decision that was made today," Hess said. "We just ask that the community give us the benefit of the doubt" until the investigation is complete.
The SBI planned to interview the officers involved on Saturday, authorities said.
Hess urged calm in the small community north of Durham and asked that people stop posting rumors and divisive comments about the shooting on social media.
"This community is all about peace, love and calm. We would plead that that still be the case," he said. "Do not pre-judge things you have heard on social media and then turn that into unlawful activity. Roxboro is better than that.
"Let's show the Triangle, the state of North Carolina and the nation that it is possible to maintain unity and peace in the midst of a complex law enforcement officer-involved shooting investigation," he added.
Danielle Short, president of the Black Revolutionists advocacy group, said her organization wants to "make sure that whatever happened to this young man, his family gets the answers that they need."
Numerous Roxboro officers and Person County deputies were on the scene Friday morning.
Evidence markers could be seen in the street and a grassy area off the side of U.S. 158, and a man's sandal was in the grass among the markers.
A large area of the highway next to the Dollar General and a section of a nearby cemetery were marked off with crime scene tape, and investigators were speaking with people in the area.
Morgan Villines, who lives in Roxboro, said she went to the shooting scene to support Brooks' family.
"I’m out here to support. It’s all about support right now. The world we living in right now, we all need to have each other’s back," Villines said. "There’s no need for this to be happening right now, especially in this little small community.."
Roxboro police officers don't have body-worn cameras, Hess said. Investigators are reviewing video from dashboard cameras in patrol cars at the scene, as well as any cellphone video shot by bystanders, to determine if there is any footage that will help in the investigation, he said.
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