A deputy sheriff in Virginia has been charged with a felony in the shooting of an unarmed gay Black man in April.
A grand jury Thursday charged Spotsylvania County Deputy David Turbyfill with felony reckless handling of a firearm, local newspaper The Free Lance-Star reports. Reckless handing is usually a misdemeanor charge, but because of the severe injuries suffered by Isiah Brown, Turbyfill faces a felony charge, Special Prosecutor LaBravia Jenkins said.
Turbyfill had given Brown a ride home the night of April 21 after Brown’s car broke down. About an hour later, Brown called 911, saying he was worried about his car and was in a dispute with his brother over the keys; at one point he mentioned having a gun and wanting to kill his brother. But then he said at least twice that he didn’t have a gun. When Turbyfill responded to the call, he shot at Brown, who was holding a phone, which Turbyfill apparently thought was a gun. Virginia State Police investigated and said they found no gun on the premises.
Ten bullets were fired at Brown and eight lodged in his body, said his attorney, David Haynes. He was critically injured and was hospitalized until May 25. The 32-year-old is continuing to recover at home.
“Isiah Brown's life was shattered and changed forever when he crossed paths with David Turbyfill,” Haynes said in a statement released to The Hill. “While this indictment doesn’t take Mr. Brown's physical pain away, it does signify a measure of justice. We look forward to the successful prosecution of David Turbyfill.”
Turbyfill has been on administrative leave since the incident. He faces a sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.