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Family of Concord man killed by police demanding charges against fired officer

Brandon Combs was killed by a police officer during an incident at a car dealership. His family is now demanding transparency from the department.

CONCORD, N.C. — Family members and attorneys for a man killed by a former Concord police officer are demanding criminal charges against the officer and are calling for the release of the bodycam footage.

Brandon Combs died on Feb. 13 after Concord police say he was shot while attempting to drive off with a police vehicle at the Modern Nissan car dealership.

Bodycam footage shown to the attorneys revealed the actions from the day Combs was killed.

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According to the attorneys, Timothy Larson, who was working as an officer for the Concord Police Department, arrived at the dealership and saw Combs attempting to start a truck on the property.

Larson demanded Combs put his hands up and exit the vehicle. Combs raised his hands but did not exit the vehicle. Larson then exited the vehicle and ran to Larson's police unit. 

When Combs entered the police car, Larson fired five shots at Combs. Larson then reported shots were fired and fired a sixth shot at Combs.

Additional police arrived on the scene and Larson told them that Combs tried to take his car.

Credit: Harry Daniels
Brandon Combs with his daughter

"We didn't hear [Larson] say he was threatened. We didn't hear him say he was afraid for his life. We didn't hear him say he tried to attack me. He didn't even say 'he put his hand on me and I had to defend myself,' we didn't hear any of that," said Chance Lynch, one of Combs's family lawyers.

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The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation looked into the shooting and questioned Larson about his actions. According to a notice of dismissal used to terminate Larson, the officer gave investigators false information in regards to the shooting.

Larson was effectively terminated in May. He had been with the department for over two years.

In a press release issued a day after the shooting, Concord police stated that Larson fired his weapon after a "physical altercation" with Combs, who was unnamed in the release. This information contradicts what was seen on the bodycam footage, according to the Combs family attorneys.

"The fact that the Concord Police Department would issue a statement that completely contradicts what happened, that's concerning," said Lynch. "We're demanding transparency, we're demanding accountability."

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Lynch and the other attorneys siding with Combs's family are now calling on Roxann Vaneekhoven, Cabarrus County District Attorney,  to press charges against Larson.

According to the attorneys, Vaneekhoven may make that decision in the coming weeks.

"If you shoot someone unjustifiably, it is an unlawful homicide," said Harry Daniels, an attorney for the Combs family. "If it was me, Chance, or anyone else here who committed these acts, we would be in Cabarrus County jail with no bond. It's time for the District Attorney to take a stance if she's tough on crime."

The attorneys are also asking for the release of the body cam footage from the shooting for the public to see what took place.

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Under North Carolina law, the release of body cam footage is only allowable if an individual petitions to a court and that petition is approved by a judge. However, since the incident is under investigation by Cabarrus County, the video will not be released at this time if a petition is sought.

Also in attendance at Tuesday's press conference were Combs's family members. Combs's mother gave a brief statement.

"They took my son. They murdered him in cold blood," said Virginia Tayara, Combs's mother with tears in her eyes. "I just want the officer held accountable and I want the city of Concord to make some changes in how they make police business."

The following statement was released by the Concord Police Department in relation to Tuesday's press conference:

"At the Concord Police Department, it is our top priority to protect the rights, health and safety of all members of the community and we make it our mission to embrace transparency and accountability. We voluntarily choose to involve the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) following any officer involved shooting in order to ensure an impartial investigation. We continue to cooperate with the SBI, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Combs’ family attorneys. We understand how difficult this time is for the Combs family and we want to ensure they receive the answers they need to heal following the death of their loved one. Which is why to preserve the integrity of the independent review by the SBI and the Cabarrus County District Attorney’s Office, as stated in the factual media release from February 13, we will not be commenting further on the case until the District Attorney’s Office completes their review."

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