Opinion | Fayetteville grieves Jason Walker shooting, violence – Richmond County Daily Journal

The City of Fayetteville’s murder rate soared last year.
The new year is not bringing any reprieve, with four shooting deaths already on the books and two people charged with murder.
The Fayetteville City Council has taken notice — the whole country has taken notice, especially in regards to the shooting death of Jason Walker last Saturday that has since inspired daily protests.
Council members in press statements this week say they want to see a change.
Mayor Mitch Colvin wrote in a statement Tuesday night that as the city entered the second week of the year, “our City has unfortunately witnessed the killing of several citizens.”
On Monday, Jan. 3, motorcyclist Stephen Addison, 32, was gunned down in what authorities say was a traffic dispute at Skibo and Cliffdale roads. Roger Dale Nobles, 51, has been charged in the slaying.
On Saturday, Jan. 8, Jason Walker, who was 37, was shot and killed by an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff’s lieutenant in another road incident. The deputy, in a 911 call, said Walker jumped on his moving truck as it traveled on Bingham Drive. No charges have been filed; Lt. Jeffrey Hash is on administrative leave. State authorities are investigating.
In both incidents, the victim was Black, the shooters white. Protests on behalf of Addison were held on Saturday afternoon — the same day news of Walker broke. Both men were fathers.
Colvin, in a statement issued Tuesday, shared condolences with the family and friends mourning the loss of a loved one.
“Tonight, my thoughts are especially with the Addison and Walker families,” the mayor wrote. “As a father and an African American man, I can empathize with what these two families are experiencing during this turbulent time.
“As a City, we must continue to come together, help one another, and look out for those in need. As we battle with the strains from the pandemic along with the financial and emotional hardships it has caused, we must not resort to violence in any capacity and at any point.”
In their joint statement, Councilwomen Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, Shakeyla Ingram and Yvonne Kinston, all of whom are African American, extended condolences to the Walker family as it grieves the loss of their family member. They talked about efforts to bring transparency to the case, including the Fayetteville Police Department turning over the case to the State Bureau of Investigation, and the council in a unanimous vote directing the city attorney and manager to request a review by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
The councilwomen wrote: “We want to strongly reflect and ensure to our citizens that we are responding to their concerns on these tragic events and our hearts ache with you as we are not only leaders of this city, but neighbors that live in this city with you.”
The city has additionally been rocked by other gun killings.
On Tuesday, Jan. 4, Eddie Saez, 34, was shot to death inside his business on Yadkin Road. Authorities are looking for two men who may have information. On Monday, a woman was shot dead in what the Police Department described as a domestic situation. Ronald Wayne Smith, 49, is charged with murder in the death of Mercedes Rosa Sterling at the home they shared on Ryan Street, off Reilly Road.
National attention
Attorney Ben Crump is joined by the family of Ahmaud Arbery as he gives a statement on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, before the sentencing of the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery. Crump has come to Fayetteville to support the family of Jason Walker, who was shot to death on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, by an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy.
The Walker case has attracted national attention. A rally is planned for Friday afternoon by family members and activists for Breonna Taylor, an African-American woman shot to death by police in Louisville in 2020. Civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump, with offices in Washington, D.C., California and Florida, arrived in Fayetteville on Wednesday evening; he has represented numerous families in high-profile police shootings, including the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake.
Crump planned to hold an event Thursday night with Walker’s family at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Deep Creek Road.
Police Chief Gina Hawkins has asked the courts to release video with body camera footage from the Walker case that will show interactions between officers and three witnesses at the scene of the incident, which occurred around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.
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Opinion | Troubling questions about Cumberland off-duty shooting
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