Fayetteville man killed by police, not self-inflicted wound, death certificate says

The scene February 1 on Summerwinds Drive.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Family members are demanding answers over what killed their loved one during a Cumberland County deputy-involved shooting on February 1.

Sheriff Ennis Wright said 52-year-old Van Williams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a domestic incident along Summerwinds Roads.

RELATED: Deputy involved in Fayetteville trailer park shootout

Deputies responded to a residence there where authorities said Williams exchanged gunfire with a deputy before running inside a mobile home.

However, a death certificate obtained Monday by CBS North Carolina says something totally different.

“It’s been hell tying to wrap my mind around what happened,” said Williams’ sister, Donna Brown.


Wright told reporters they found Williams dead inside his mobile home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

But Williams’ death certificate lists his manner of death as a “homicide” due to a gunshot wound to the chest.

The certificate also indicates Williams was “shot by police.”

“I’ve had to tell my family in Massachusetts one time that he committed suicide, then I had to tell them again he didn’t, then I had to say again he did. So we’re kinda back and forth. We don’t know what happened,” Brown said.

Wright declined CBS North Carolina’s request for an interview Monday.

Sgt. Sean Swain said their report to the media about the cause of death was based off preliminary investigation at the scene.

Swain also said they’re still awaiting the SBI’s investigative report on this case.

“We were 11 months apart, he was my best friend,” Brown said. “He would help anybody .”

The deputy involved in the shooting was placed on administrative leave following the shooting.

He returned to regular duty after the Sheriff’s Office’s internal investigation concluded the shooting was justified.

The SBI says they hope to have their investigation complete soon.

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