A Spotsylvania County, Virginia, sheriff’s deputy shot Isiah Brown "at least" 10 times outside his home last week after mistaking a phone in his hand for a gun, the family’s lawyer said Monday.
Brown's family and attorney David Haynes demanded the release of communication between a 911 dispatcher and the deputy who shot him early Wednesday. Haynes says Brown, 32, had a landline house phone in his hand that the deputy mistook for a gun.
“He made it totally clear that he did not have a weapon, that he did not have a gun,” Haynes said at a news conference, describing a “failure of communication” between 911 dispatch and the deputies who responded to Brown’s home on West Catharpin Road.
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Brown was in intensive care at a hospital in Fredericksburg as of Monday morning. Surgeons were able to remove two bullets from his body; eight remained.
Doctors described Brown’s condition as “very critical” and “touch and go,” Haynes said.
Brown is a home health aide who’s kind, upbeat and the life of the party, his sister, Yolanda Brown, said. She called for answers about why the deputy shot her brother.
Their mother’s plea was simple: “My concern at this point is hopefully for my son to come home alive.”
Body camera footage released Friday shows parts of the interaction between Brown, who is Black, and the deputy, who is white. The deputy's name was not released.
“Show me your hands! Show me your hands now! Show me your hands! Drop the gun! He’s got a gun to his head! Drop the gun now! Stop walking towards me! Stop walking towards me! Stop. Stop,” the deputy can be heard shouting.
Multiple shots then can be heard.
Brown was unarmed, officials later confirmed. What Brown had in his hand was a cordless house phone, the family’s lawyer said; he was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher.
Earlier in the night, the same deputy gave Brown a ride home after his car broke down at a gas station on Route 3, several miles from home, at about 2:30 a.m. The deputy dropped him off and drove away.
Moments later, Brown called 911, reporting a dispute with his brother. It sounds like he’s asking his brother for a gun while on the call. He then tells the 911 dispatcher, “I’m about to kill my brother."
“Don’t kill your brother,” the dispatcher replies.
“Alright,” Brown says.
“Why would you say something like that?” the dispatcher asks.
“Somebody needs to come here real quick,” Brown says.
Brown then tells the 911 dispatcher he does not have a gun on him.
The deputy then returned to the home and shot Brown.
There was a gun in the Brown family’s home but it was locked up, Haynes said Monday.
News4 asked the sheriff’s office if they would comment on the allegations by the family’s attorney. The sheriff will not make any more statements until the Virginia State Police investigation concludes, a spokesperson said.
Virginia State Police said the deputy who opened fire was the only law enforcement official there at the time.
Editor’s Note (May 4, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET): This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Isiah Brown’s first name, according to information from his family’s lawyers on May 4, 2021.