- Thursday, 21 April 2022
- Written by Hannah Lee
A special prosecutor announced Thursday that no charges will be filed against an off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff's deputy accused of killing 37-year-old Jason Walker.
The incident happened on January 8 along Bingham Drive and Shenandoah Drive. Witnesses told police that Walker jumped on the hood of a truck. Inside the truck was Lieutenant Jeffrey Hash, his wife and Hash’s teenage daughter. Walker allegedly tore off the driver’s windshield wiper and started to hit the windshield.
The windshield was cracked and shards of glass were coming into the truck, which was confirmed by the Fayetteville Police Department.
One of the witnesses was Jason Walker’s father.
“He was out here in the daggone street when that fellow drove up. He jumped up on the guy’s hood, the guy got out…started shooting,” Walker told officers. “He pulled out one of the daggone windshield wipers, and he hit the windshield with the wiper.”
Hash told police that he shouted at Walker to stop and he then got out of the truck. Hash said that Walker lunged at him and had something in his hand. Hash told police that he wasn’t sure whether it was the windshield wiper or something else. Hash pulled his .9mm pistol out and shot Walker four times.
The Fayetteville Police Department was the first to be at the scene. Police Chief Gina Hawkins shortly turned the case over to the State Bureau of Investigations. The SBI, after conducting the investigation, turned the case over to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys.
The autopsy revealed that one bullet entered Walker’s lower chest and traveled through his chest, hitting multiple vital organs. Another bullet entered the top of Walker’s head and lodged in Walker’s spinal cord. A third bullet entered the front of the thigh and exited the left thigh. The last bullet entered Walker’s left-back and exited the left side.
The report shows that with the wounds as they were, Walker’s back was not facing Hash when he was shot, rather Walker was standing to the side.
The SBI report also states that the woman who was at the scene, Elizabeth Ricks, who identified herself as a trauma nurse and applied pressure to Walker’s wounds at the scene, was not and has never been a nurse. Ricks made several public statements following Walker’s death about how she felt a faint pulse when EMS arrived. EMS and multiple other witnesses confirmed that Walker was dead when EMS arrived.
Other evidence found in the SBI investigation showed that two drops of Walker’s blood was found on the interior of the driver’s door near the door pocket. The SBI concluded that this was consistent with Walker being on the hood of the truck and moving toward the driver’s door when shot.
The NC Conference of District Attorneys made the decision not to file any criminal charges against Hash after reviewing the state's evidence, according to a letter from Executive Director, Kimberly Overton Spahos.
"The shooting was indisputably tragic, but based upon these facts, the state of North Carolina will not be able to provide 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 wrote in the letter to the SBI.
“While it is possible that Walker’s intent was not to enter the truck or to injure Hash or his family, the analysis in every self-defense case requires that we put ourselves in the position of the person who used deadly force. Hash was driving down a public roadway with his family in the vehicle when Walker charged the truck, mounted it, and began a violent assault upon the vehicle. Hash’s entreaties to stop and get off the vehicle were ignored, and when Hash exited the truck, Walker’s offense shifted from the truck to Hash himself,” Spahos wrote. “We cannot view these events from the comfort of our desks after cool reflection, as Hash was not granted the luxury of time and reflection. Instead, he had to make a split-second decision. Additionally, while it is possible that other alternatives were available to Hash, the analysis is not and cannot be whether his actions were the only option or event the best option. When determining whether criminal charges are filed, the question is whether the State can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the action he took violated the law.”
Hash was put on administrative paid leave from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office the day after the shooting. He will remain on leave until after the Sheriff’s Office conducts its own internal investigation.