WRAL Investigates

Roxboro man killed by police had previous encounter with officer who fired fatal shot

Posted August 14, 2020 5:24 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2020 6:11 p.m. EDT

— A Roxboro police officer who fatally shot an armed man last month had a previous run-in with the man which ended in a mental evaluation, according to records obtained by WRAL Investigates.

Officers were responding to a report of an armed man walking along U.S. Highway 158 near a Dollar General store on July 24 when they confronted 45-year-old David Brooks Jr.

"There's a Black guy, looks like he's got a gun in front of him, hanging around him," a man told a 911 dispatcher that morning. "It looked like a gun, maybe a shotgun."

Footage from a dashboard camera shows officers yelling at Brooks to drop a gun before firing at him. Brooks can be seen in the video holding a weapon and possibly raising it in the direction of officers.

Police Chief David Hess said a shotgun was found at the scene.

Two Roxboro police officers have been placed on leave during a State Bureau of Investigation review of the shooting.

Roxboro police haven't identified the officers involved, but through sourced information and public records, WRAL Investigates has confirmed that Sgt. Alfred Cox, who has been with the department since 2011, fired the fatal shot.

Cox couldn't be reached Friday for comment.

While some attorneys and former law enforcement say Cox was justified because Brooks pointed the shotgun at him, many people in the Roxboro community question why the officer moved so quickly without attempting some type of de-escalation tactic first.

WRAL Investigates also confirmed a May 7 encounter between Cox and Brooks.

A communications report obtained through a public records request shows officers responding after a man called 911 and said Brooks was carrying a sawed-off shotgun and pointing it at the man's friend.

Cox was one of the responding officers, but instead of arresting Brooks, the officers took him to a hospital for a mental evaluation, according to records.

Brooks' death has prompted several protests in Roxboro over the past three weeks. Avie Lester, president of the Person County NAACP chapter, said Friday that he and others want a truth commission or citizens review board to take part in the shooting investigation.

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