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North Carolina Officer On Leave After Fatally Shooting Black Man During Traffic Stop, Police Say

Authorities in Washington, North Carolina confirmed Monday that a white officer shot and killed a Black motorist who stepped out of his car wielding a gun during a traffic stop this past weekend.

The shooting unfolded Sunday afternoon when the man, identified as Cedric Pritchard, got out of his vehicle with a gun after he was stopped by police, said Stacy Drakeford, director of Washington police and fire services, in a statement. The officer then fired his weapon.

Cedric Pritchard

Cedric Pritchard was fatally shot after police say he exited his car with a gun during a traffic stop. (Image courtesy of WITN)

“It is with great sadness that we are investigating an officer-involved shooting in our City,” Drakeford said. “Today, a citizen of our community has lost his life, a family is grieving for their family member, and our law enforcement agency is saddened by these events. We ask that the community joins us as our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragic incident.”

When asked if the officer’s body-worn camera captured the shooting, the police chief said the evidence has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation. It’s unclear if Pritchard made any gestures with the gun before he was shot.

Pritchard’s mother, Teresa Pritchard, told local station WITN that her son’s death is “a hard pill to swallow.”

“I’m looking for him coming through the door anytime and I won’t see him,” she said. “That’s going to be hurtful.”

Neighbor Natasha Wright, who considered Pritchard a family friend, said she rushed outside when she heard the gunshots and was crushed after realizing what had happened.

“I think all of our eyes filled with water, and we started crying a little bit,” Knight told WNCT. “I knew him from a little boy when he was real young, and I knew his mom,

The State Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the incident. The officer involved remains unnamed and has been placed on administrative leave, as is protocol after officer-involved shootings.

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