DA: Burke County deputy acted lawfully in shooting of man holding CO2 pistol

The shooting happened around 7 p.m. Monday on Pritchard Drive, off of Highway 70 in Morganton.
The shooting happened around 7 p.m. Monday on Pritchard Drive, off of Highway 70 in Morganton.

A Burke County deputy who fatally shot a man holding a compressed-air pistol Monday night acted lawfully, the district attorney’s office announced Thursday.

Jeffrey Jacobs, 42, was shot and killed by a deputy after he pointed a compressed-air BB gun at the deputy, who was responding to a call about a domestic disturbance, officials said.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. on Pritchard Drive, off of N.C. 70 in Morganton.

The 911 caller said Jacobs was beating a woman in the roadway and was armed with a revolver and a knife.

“During the domestic quarrel, Mr. Jacobs kicked at his wife, who cut him on the leg with a box cutter just prior to the Deputy’s arrival,” District Attorney David Learner said, adding that it appeared that Jacobs was armed with what seemed to be “a rather large handgun.”

The deputy reportedly demanded more than 30 times that Jacobs drop the weapon. The entire event was captured on dash cam video, Learner said.

“Mr. Jacobs pointed the gun directly at the Deputy prior to the Deputy firing a single shot that struck Mr. Jacobs in the chest, fatally wounding him,” court documents said.

Toxicology reports indicate Jacobs had methamphetamine and alcohol in his body.

Deputies said they later learned the weapon Jacobs pointed was a compressed-air pistol that was “a perfect replica of a real revolver.”

“Distinguishing between the CO2 weapon and a real revolver is difficult even in a calm, nonthreatening environment,” Sheriff Whisnant said Tuesday.

Joshua Buie, who said he was friends with Jacobs, agreed it did appear to be an actual firearm. Buie said he yelled out that the gun was not real but the deputy continued to order Jacobs to drop it.

After the single shot was fired, striking Jacobs in the chest, the deputy and a trooper provided first aid to Jacobs until EMS arrived. Jacobs died on the way to the hospital.

The deputy involved, a four-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was placed on administrative leave during the investigation. His name has not been released.

“Based upon applicable law and the facts as reported by eyewitness accounts, corroborated by the photographs and other physical evidence, it is my conclusion that the Burke County Sheriff’s Deputy acted lawfully in shooting Mr. Jacobs on Aug. 21,” Learner said.

The SBI handled the investigation.