Prichard officer involved in fatal shooting speaks to MCSO

(IMAGE: WPMI) Prichard officer involved in fatal shooting. Jonathan Murphy, speaks to MCSO

Prichard Police Officer Jonathan Murphy gave his statement to MCSO investigators Tuesday regarding Saturday’s incident that left a 56-year-old man dead on First Avenue in Prichard.

The MCSO says Murphy shot and killed Lawrence Hawkins in front of his home Saturday night. According to Sheriff Sam Cochran, Hawkins was unarmed and standing beside his own truck in front of his home when the shooting happened.

Murphy chose not to comment in front of NBC 15 cameras Tuesday when reporter Christian Jennings tried asking him questions.

His attorney Ken Nixon said, "Officer Murphy is cooperating fully with the investigation and he continues to do so. And I think it would be inappropriate for him to make any other comment until the investigation is complete."

Murphy was allowed to leave the Sheriff's office after a couple of hours. NBC 15 asked detectives if they've determined whether the shooting was justified. Captain Paul Burch said that's not their call to make. Ultimately it will be up to a grand jury to decide whether Murphy acted within the law.

As far as detectives know, there is no video of the shooting. Prichard Police officers do not have body cameras. Only a few officers have dash cameras that they purchase with their own money, according to Sheriff Cochran.

Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner spoke to reporters today. He refused to answer any questions from the media but he did say in part, "My heart goes out to Lawrence Hawkins' family, friends and our community." He went on to say, "I want the family and community to know I stand ready to do whatever is necessary and I'm in support of not only the family but our officers involved in it and I can't say enough how it impacts everyone."

People in the neighborhood tell NBC15 that the officer didn't activate his lights until after the shooting. Detectives haven't said whether that's true. A witness also told us that Hawkins was reaching for his cell phone when he was shot. Cochran didn't confirm that, but did say detectives recovered a cell phone at the scene.

According to Prichard police, Murphy has been with the department for 18 months and is now on paid administrative leave.

Hawkins' family has not released a statement to the media.

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