Prichard man killed in officer-involved shooting was unarmed

Police on scene at First Avenue and Hanes Street in Prichard (Photo: Josh Harlan, FOX10 News)

UPDATE: Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said Lawrence Hawkins was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a Prichard police officer. The sheriff also said investigators have not yet interviewed the officer, identified as Johnathan Murphy.

FOX10 News has learned investigators will interview Murphy on Tuesday, November 20th. We're told Murphy asked to speak to an attorney the night of the shooting,and hasn't given his statement yet. Without that interview, there are some unanswered questions about that night.

"It certainly perhaps helps from the investigative side the quicker we can speak to someone, to make up and move our investigation along a little faster, but it's unreasonable and I'd have to say anybody involved in a shooting, including a police officer do have that right to speak to an attorney," said Cochran.

However, Cochran told us it's not unusual for an officer to wait this long to be interviewed after a deadly shooting.

The sheriff also said recordings of Prichard Police radio communications confirm that Murphy was attempting to stop Hawkins' vehicle for a traffic violation. Cochran says the recordings contain static and it's hard to hear what is being said. Because of that, he's not able to say what type of traffic violation Hawkins is accused of committing.

Cochran said Murphy was not wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting. An official with the Mobile County District Attorney's Office also said Murphy did not have a dash camera on his marked patrol car.

Officials with the city of Prichard said officers are not issued body cameras or dash cameras. However, some officers buy dash cameras with their own money.

An official with the District Attorney's Office said a second officer who showed up to the scene after the shooting may have recorded video of the scene that could be useful to the investigation.

The sheriff also announced that an autopsy conducted Monday revealed Hawkins died from gunshot wounds. Investigators found three shell casings at the scene.

With no police body camera or dash camera video, and static in the radio conversations from the officer that night, investigators are having to rely on witnesses and evidence at the scene. Cochran said there's quite a lot to go through.

"We do know there was some conversation between the decedent and the officer on the scene...the investigators are not going to look for any justification. We're going to investigate the facts, the facts will speak for themselves."

The Prichard Police Department told FOX10 News it is also conducting a separate internal affairs investigation into Officer Murphy's actions. The sheriff's office is conducting a criminal investigation.

Prichard Police said Murphy has worked for the department for about 18 months, and refused to release a picture of him.


ORIGINAL STORY: The Mobile County Sheriff's Office has identified the officer involved in a deadly shooting over the weekend in Prichard.

The Prichard Police Officer involved in with the shooting has been identified as Officer Johnathan Murphy.

According to a news release from the MCSO over the weekend, the shooting happened on First Avenue during a traffic stop around 7:40 p.m. Saturday night, November 18.

"Lawrence Hawkins was shot and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead," said MCSO.

MCSO said the District Attorney, Ashley Rich, requested MCSO to assist the Prichard Police Department with the investigation.

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