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

The Burke County Sheriff's Office released this photo of the CO2 gun Jacobs allegedly pointed at police (left) compared to a real revolver (right).
The Burke County Sheriff's Office released this photo of the CO2 gun Jacobs allegedly pointed at police (left) compared to a real revolver (right).

BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Burke County deputy who fatally shot a man holding a CO2 pistol Monday night acted lawfully, the District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Jeffrey Jacobs, 42, was shot and killed by a deputy after officials say he pointed a CO2 bb gun at the deputy who was responding to a call about a domestic disturbance.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. on Pritchard Drive, off of Highway 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," the District Attorney David Learner said, adding that it appeared that Jacobs was armed with what appeared to be "a rather large handgun."

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

"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 say.

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

Deputies say they later learned the weapon Jacobs pointed was a CO2 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 non-threatening environment," Sheriff Whisnant said Tuesday.

Joshua Buie, who says he was friends with Jacobs, agreed it did appear to be an actual firearm. Buie says 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 August 21, 2017," Learner said.

The SBI handled the investigation.

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