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Sheriff’s Office: Internal probe of deputy involved in fatal shooting moving forward

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office is waiting for the special prosecutor to wrap up her case before it can complete its investigation, a spokeswoman says.


The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal investigation of Lt. Jeffrey Hash, the off-duty deputy who shot and killed 37-year-old Jason Walker on Jan. 8, a spokeswoman said.

 On Thursday, the special prosecutor assigned to review the case announced that no criminal charges will be filed against Hash.

 Lt. Patrice Bogertey, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that the department is unable to complete its probe until the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys wraps up its investigation.

Kimberly Spahos is executive director of the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys, which was assigned to the case after the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office recused itself. She announced the decision not to pursue charges in a letter to the State Bureau of Investigation, which looked into the shooting.

Hash was placed on administrative leave with pay after the shooting.

"We're going to have to confer with the conference attorney on the findings from the SBI," Bogertey said. "Until that's done, we don't know what they found."

Walker was shot near his home on Bingham Drive after witnesses said he jumped on the deputy’s truck, ripped a windshield wiper off and began smashing the windshield. Hash has said he exited his pickup and shot Walker to protect his wife and daughter, who were in the vehicle with him.

Hash has been cleared by the state as far as policy, Bogertey said, but the Sheriff's Office needs to know the findings of the SBI investigation.

"We can't close out," she said. "As soon as they close out their investigation, we definitely will."

The internal investigation is to determine whether any policies were violated, Bogertey said.

She said she did not have a timeline on when the Sheriff's Office will complete its probe. Bogertey said if Hash is cleared by the internal investigation, she saw no reason why he should not return to work.

A source close to the Sheriff’s Office who asked not to be identified said nothing happens with a person on administrative leave until the Sheriff’s Office receives the official report from the district attorney or, in this case, from the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys.

"Our internal affairs folks have to complete their investigation," the source said.

Under the Sheriff’s Office accreditation and the policy of the agency, the official report is required before anyone can return to work following a long gap, the source said. That report must be requested, the source said, along with psychological review testing and an opportunity for the deputy to catch up on his training.

Spahos said the state’s self-defense law allows the use of deadly force if Hash reasonably believed that he or another person was in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death. She determined that Hash was justified in shooting Walker after Walker jumped onto the deputy’s pickup, ripped the windshield wiper off and began smashing the windshield.

Walker’s death sparked weeks of protests in Fayetteville. People called for justice and for charges to be filed.

A group protested the decision by the special prosecutor Thursday night at the Market House. Organizers have said other protests could take place this weekend when the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival is taking place downtown.

“We will be high profile over the Dogwood Festival,” said Myah Warren, who organized Thursday’s protest. “We want to send a message to the family: We want family to know people care and will keep fighting until change is brought.”

The Fayetteville Police Department on Friday did not respond to requests for comment about staffing in the event there are protests.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, Jason Walker, off-duty deputy, fatal shooting