This video shows the minutes following a deadly police-involved shooting. Shekinah Akbar and her cousin were in the area, heard gunshots, and stopped to see what happened.
“We walk up and we see people and they said we’ll he shot them. And we were like who? They said the officer there shot him,” says Shekinah.
The video is a little shaky, but you can see neighbors standing around. Mobile County Sheriffs investigators are looking into whether the patrol car had its lights on when the officer pulled over. Witnesses say this is the car belonging to officer Murphy and as you can see, the lights are turned off. Officials say they are still investigating.
We tried a couple times today to speak with Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner. On our attempt, no one answered the door to the mayor’s office. So we left our number with another city employee. We tried back later and were told Mayor Gardner had already given statements to other media outlets. We asked him to go on the record with us as well, but he refused.
Meanwhile, Akbar says there must be a better way to handle incidents like these. “I feel like when you’re a police officer, you’re trained on how to pursue people. Shooting people isn’t the way. If you’re scared, you shouldn’t be a police officer.”
UPDATE 4:30 p.m. — Sheriff Sam Cochran with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference late Monday afternoon.
Sheriff Cochran says that investigators on the scene did not obtain a weapon and they do not believe Lawrence Hawkins was armed with a weapon. However, Sheriff Cochran did confirm that a cell phone was recovered on the scene. Investigators on the scene were also able to recover three shell casings, but they do not know how many shots were fired, Sheriff Cochran says.
The Sheriff’s Department is still waiting to interview Officer Johnathan Murphy, who asked to speak to an attorney before making a statement. Sheriff Cochran told news outlets that Murphy became an Alabama certified officer in November of 2016.
Sheriff Cochran also confirmed that the Prichard Police Department does not require officers to wear body cameras and that only some officers have dash cam capabilities.
Hawkins is related to a Mobile County Jail employee, according to MCSO.
The Mobile Sheriff’s Office is asking for any witnesses to come forward.
UPDATE November, 20 11:58 a.m.
According to Lori Myles with MCSO, “At approximately 9:23 pm, District Attorney Ashley Rich requested Mobile County Sheriff’s Office to investigate with an Officer involved shooting. The Prichard Police Officer involved with the shooting is Officer Johnathan Murphy.”
Mobile County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this shooting to contact 251-574-8633.
Original Story — November, 18 2017 9:50 p.m.
PRICHARD, Alabama (WKRG) – The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office confirms an investigation is underway into a fatal officer involved shooting in Prichard. Mobile Police says the it happened Saturday night at 9:30 during a traffic stop. It happened on First Avenue at Hanes Street.
The Sheriff’s Office says Lawrence Hawkins was shot by a Prichard Police Officer. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The sheriff’s office says there is no other further information at this time and more details will be released as the investigation continues.
News 5 spoke witnesses about what happened. Latreisha Williams tells News 5 she witnessed the officer follow Lawrence to his house, “He (Hawkins) got out his truck, reached in there to get his cell phone. The police were saying something, and all i heard was pow… pow… pow.”
Williams says the officer never turned on his police lights until after he shot Lawrence. Several other witnesses from on the scene tell News 5 the same thing.
Several people in the Prichard community say they knew Hawkins and that he was a kind, hardworking man who would do anything for anyone. The community knew him as ‘Haw’ Glenn Wright says he has known Hawkins since they were in diapers, “It has me tossing and turning because I lost four brothers, mother, father, and twin sister myself. And this really touched home.”
The family did not want to talk on camera, but said they plan to issue a statement on Monday.
The following is a press release from Lori Myles with Mobile County Sheriff’s Office:
At the request of the District Attorney, Ashley Rich, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office is assisting Prichard Police Department with an officer involved shooting. The shooting occurred yesterday, November 18, 2017 at approximately 9:30 pm on First Avenue in Prichard during a traffic stop. Lawrence Hawkins was shot and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy will be conducted on Monday, November 20. There is no further information at this time, the case is pending further investigation and findings will be forthcoming.