SHERIFF: Deputy Wearing Bullet Proof Vest When Shot

Williamston, NC -- A deputy sheriff was wearing a bullet proof vest when he was shot and killed Tuesday morning in Martin County.

Sheriff Dan Gibbs says the bullet that killed Deputy Charlie Brown did not hit the vest.

The medical examiner says Brown was shot once, with the bullet traveling from his chest to his abdomen.

Brown and Jerry Pace, Jr. were both killed in the shootout on West Main Street in Williamston. An autopsy shows Pace died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Sheriff Dan Gibbs says it all started when Pace's sister called Williamston police about her brother and father getting into an argument. Gibbs says when law enforcement officers arrived, they say Pace was at the back of the home, carrying an assault rifle. Authorities say Pace refused multiple commands from officers, and that he opened fire first.

The SBI is investigating the shooting.

Brown will be buried Saturday after a funeral at the Bob Martin Agricultural Center in Williamston.

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Wiliamston police have placed two officers who were involved in Tuesday's shooting on administrative leave.

That is standard procedure in most officer-involved shootings. The SBI is investigating the shooting.

Killed in the shootout on West Main Street was Martin County Deputy Charlie Brown and Jerry Pace, Jr.

Authorities say Pace was armed with a long rifle and refused officers requests. They say he fired his weapon first and law enforcement officers then returned fire.

Brown was a law enforcement officer for approximately 15 years. He is survived by a wife and two daughters.

There is no word yet on funeral arrangements of Deputy Brown.

To leave your thoughts and condolences to the family you can click here to go to the WITN guestbook.

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A shootout on a Williamston street has left a Martin County deputy and the gunman dead.

Killed was Deputy Charlie Brown, a lawman with approximately 15 years of experience.

Authorities say around 9:15 a.m. they received a call to 1710 West Main Street about a man armed with a long gun. Officers say they saw Jerry Pace, Junior outside a home and they issued several verbal commands to him. They say he refused to comply and discharged the weapon. Officers returned fire and killed the man.

The SBI is now investigating the shooting.

An elementary school, about a half mile from the shooting, was placed on lockdown as a precaution.

Brown died at Martin General Hospital, where an EastCare helicopter had been called.

At the hospital family and law enforcement officers gathered for support.

"My heart certainly grieves, its difficult standing here. It's sad anytime anyone is taken away unexpectedly," county manager Russell Overman told WITN.

The North Carolina Department of Corrections shows a 36-year-old Jerry Pace Jr. had a 1993 conviction for resisting an officer and trespassing in Martin County. The website also shows convictions for larceny and breaking and entering in 1990.

Brown, who was a narcotics investigator, is survived by his wife Cindy and two daughters.

This is not the first time a member of the Martin County Sheriff's Office has died in the line of duty. In 1992, Sheriff Jerry Beech was killed in Oak City after responding to a bank robbery.

Williamston Police Department and Martin County Sheriff's Office Press Release

On Tuesday, December 08, 2009, at approximately 9:16 a.m., Williamston Police Officers and Martin County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a 911 call at 1710 West Main Street, Williamston, NC in reference to a suspect armed with a long gun.

Upon the officer's arrival, they observed Jerry Lee Pace, Jr., white male, date of birth: 04/03/1973 outside of the residence armed with a long gun. The officers issued several verbal commands to Pace. However, Pace refused to comply with the commands. Pace then discharged the weapon and the officers returned fire.

During the incident, Jerry Lee Pace, Jr. was fatally wounded.

Narcotics Investigator Charles "Charlie" Douglas Brown, Jr. with the Martin County Sheriff's Office was also fatally wounded. Brown has been a law enforcement officer for approximately fifteen years and previously worked with the Williamston Police Department.

Brown is survived by his wife Cindy and two daughters. Charlie was well respected by the law enforcement community and will be truly missed.

The Williamston Police Department and the Martin County Sheriff's Office have requested that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) investigate the incident.

WITN News has confirmed that a law enforcement officer has been shot and a suspect wounded in a shooting in Williamston.

It happened around 9:15 a.m. in the 1700 block of West Main Street.

The shooting scene was about a half-mile from Williamston Primary School. Superintendent Dr. Tom Daley tells WITN News that the school was put on lockdown at the request of police. He said the school did exactly what they were told to do and now the school is open again.

EastCare has landed a helicopter at Martin General Hospital, though it is not yet confirmed that this is related to the shooting.

WITN News has multiple crews en-route to the scene. Stay with WITN News and for more on this developing story.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 15, 2009 at 08:28 AM
    To Question, Who gives a rats behind what he looks like or why his mug shot was not on tv!!!!!
  • by Baker Location: Williamston on Dec 13, 2009 at 04:41 AM
    "Question?", we are sorry the perp was unable to stand up and smile for a mug shot for you. Did you want him strapped to a board or shoved in a box and propped up like in the old west. What a dumb question, you must be a brilliant lady. Maybe if some of the thugs were unable to stand up for their mug shot the rest of them would stop committing so many crimes in Martin County. Bayhka!
  • by Also Outraged on Dec 12, 2009 at 01:51 PM
    I did not see you comment when the unknown person was being called a thug.
  • by to outraged on Dec 12, 2009 at 01:45 PM
    I would like to say something to you, but I know it will not get posted as other people have stated that the gunman picture was not posted. It is not an ignorant statement it is true.
  • by To Question Location: ENC on Dec 12, 2009 at 07:18 AM
    People like you give your kind a bad name. There is only one race, and it is the AMERICAN race. As long as you support our GREAT NATION, I personally could care less if you were shartruse!!
  • by OUTRAGED Location: Williamston on Dec 12, 2009 at 05:49 AM
    To Mr. Question: This is not the place for your ignorant comments. Most of us blacks in Martin County realize that guys like you are our biggest problem. We apologize to the community for this mans remarks, and we are crying and praying for Charlie and all who loved him. We have lost a true friend.
  • by Melanie Location: Martin County on Dec 11, 2009 at 06:31 PM
    Thank you to whoever posted the 6:34pm comment. I had a temp brain lapse and forgot that its standard to bag weapons that were involved.
  • by to Question on Dec 11, 2009 at 05:08 PM
    You are not the only asking that question. Plus there is alot of sympathy for him and it would not have been like that for the other race.
  • by To Melanie on Dec 11, 2009 at 03:34 PM
    That was the LEO's rifle being bagged. It is a crime scene. It was a cheap .223 assault rifle. So it would have went through the vest anyway. I do not think it hit the vest however.
  • by Question? Location: Eastern N.C. on Dec 11, 2009 at 03:30 PM
    Have noticed that certain criminals pictures aren't shown when they commit certain crimes. Where's the pic of the guy the cop shot? I hear he's a caucasion. Had he been the other color he would have been displayed all over the media.

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