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Crime News Black Lives Matter

Deputy Who Shot Isaiah Brown, Claimed He Thought Phone Was Gun, Charged With A Felony In Virginia

David Turbyfill, who shot Isaiah Brown at least eight times as Brown. 

By Kevin Dolak
Isaiah Brown

The Virginia deputy who gave Isaiah Brown a ride home and then shot him at least eight times when, he claimed, he mistook Brown's phone for a firearm was charged with a felony this week. 

Brown, 32, was shot around 3 a.m. on April 21 by Spotsylvania County Sheriff's deputy David Turbyfill, according to the indictment. Turbyfill had given Brown a ride home from his stalled car earlier in the evening. He has been charged with reckless handling of a firearm resulting in serious injury," according to the indictment. The grand jury alleges the deputy "did unlawfully and feloniously handle [a] firearm in a manner so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life."

"Isiah Brown's life was shattered and changed forever when he crossed paths with David Turbyfill. While this indictment doesn't take Mr. Brown's physical pain away, it does signify a measure of justice," David Hayes, an attorney representing Brown, said in a statement.

After the shooting, it was reported that the deputy had shot Brown 10 times. 

A 911 call placed by Brown captured most of the events that led up to his killing. In the recording, Brown is heard telling the dispatcher that he is not being allowed inside his mother’s bedroom by his brother, who is presumably the voice heard in the background; Burton can also be heard demanding a gun from him. At one point he threatens to kill his sibling.

After further conversation, Brown is heard walking outside as police vehicles, sirens on, are heard approaching the home. The dispatcher then advised Brown to put his hands up as the deputy arrived at the scene.

“Show me your hands!” the deputy shouted at Brown. “Drop the gun! 

But at that moment, Turbyfill seems to confuse Brown’s phone with a gun.

“He’s got a gun to his head,” the deputy said over the radio.

Within seconds, gunshots rang out. Police body camera footage shows Brown sprawled out, motionless, in the road. Several bullets punctured his abdomen, investigators said. 

In the moments after the shooting, Turbyfill initiated life-saving first aid to Brown, Spotsylvania County Sheriff Roger Harris said; Brown was then transferred to a local hospital.

Haynes has called for Turbyfill’s termination from the police force and has asked for all audio communication between the deputy and dispatch along with police body camera footage of the shooting. 

Haynes reportedly said that Brown and his family were pleased with the indictment.

Turbyfill was placed on administrative leave pending review of the incident by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Investigations leading the investigation. 

Spotsylvania County Sheriff Roger Harris said: "During the encounter with an adult male the deputy discharged his firearm. Mr. Brown was struck by the gunfire. The deputy immediately rendered life-saving first aid." He said the deputy, who he did not initially name, was placed on administrative leave pending review of the shooting by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

Turbyfill faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if he is convicted.