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SBI says thorough investigation into officer-involved shooting will take several months

Dozens attend rally hosted by Black Lives Matter after shooting death of Asheville man (Photo credit: WLOS)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- More than 50 people gathered in Pack Square Park on Tuesday to protest the shooting death of an Asheville man over the weekend.

Jai Williams, 35, also known as "Jerry," was shot and killed Saturday at Deaverview Apartments by Sgt. Tyler Radford.

RELATED | One dead in officer-involved shooting Saturday at Deaverview Apartments

A local Black Lives Matter group planned Tuesday's rally, drawing dozens. It was originally thought family was organizing the event, and some of Williams' relatives were there.

Attendees held signs in protest and some spoke angry words critical of APD and its allegations Williams was armed with an AR-15 at the time of his shooting.

Fraternal Order of Police also set up a tent across from the rally to show support for APD. FOP authorities told News 13 they attended specifically to show support for APD and officers.

"It's a situation officers are put in every day and we're here to support the officers. We're here to support the investigation, so let's let the process that's in place take place," Rondell Lance, president of Fraternal Order of the Police, said.

Reverend Keith Ogden with Stop the Violence Coalition posted a video on Periscope, aware the event Tuesday could be controversial.

WATCH | Rev. Keith Ogden with Stop the Violence Coalition responds to shooting

"We need to talk to our young black boys and daughters," Odgen said. "We always want to blame the police every time a young black boy gets shot. Number one: why was he eluding the police? Why was he on a chase? And if he had an AR-15, what was he doing with an AR-15? Sure it could have been my son, but if he was beating on a girl for two minutes outside a car and there was a struggle, why was he putting his hands on this young lady?"

On July 2, police say Williams "ran up on a curb," then "displayed a gun" after ignoring commands from an officer and before the officer used deadly force.

Radford is now on administrative leave as the SBI investigates, which is standard protocol. The SBI says it will likely take several months for this investigation to be completed.

The thorough investigation will include a full autopsy, toxicology report, listening to 911 calls and interviewing witnesses.

District Attorney Todd Williams released a statement on Tuesday morning pledging an accurate and thorough investigation.

It is important to determine what happened last Saturday night competently and accurately. Therefore, a thorough investigation may require a significant amount of time.
In this case, as in all cases, I pledge to conduct a full and fair review of the investigation.
While a thorough investigation and review of the file may take time, I expect to make a determination without unnecessary delay.
The same rules regarding a District Attorney's public comment and the release of information in any pending matter apply in officer-involved shootings. Several factors, including ethical obligations, the integrity of the investigation, privacy concerns, and statutory requirements are all relevant in determining what information can be released.
In deference to preserving the integrity of the investigation it is my opinion that further comment at this time would be improper, just as it would be in any other pending investigation.

Williams' family held a second candlelight vigil Tuesday in Walton Street Park starting at 5 p.m. Media were not invited.

The family is asking supporters to help bring awareness to the issue of police killing black children. They are now working with a national civil rights activist who's already critical of how the shooting was handled.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or may have useful information for authorities is asked to call the State Bureau of Investigation at 828-654-8901.

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