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Family of Black man fatally shot by Ohio deputy demands investigation into his death

Casey Goodson was coming home from the dentist when he was gunned down in front of his grandmother, family lawyers said.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A sheriff's deputy fatally shot a 23-year-old on his grandmother's doorstep following a "verbal exchange" with the lawman, authorities and family members said Sunday.

Loved ones of Casey Christopher Goodson Jr. said they have "extreme concern" about the killing in Columbus on Friday and are demanding a thorough investigation.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio announced that it would review the shooting "and take appropriate action if the evidence indicates any federal civil rights laws were violated." U.S. attorneys are federal prosecutors and the chief federal law enforcement officer of their districts.

A Franklin County Sheriff's deputy, working with a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, "reported witnessing a man with a gun," Columbus police said in a statement.

"The deputy was investigating the situation and there are reports of a verbal exchange. The deputy fired at Mr. Casey Goodson, resulting in his death," according to a sheriff's statement. "A gun was recovered from Mr. Goodson. Mr. Goodson was not the person being sought by the U.S. Marshals task force."

Casey Christopher Goodson Jr.
Casey Christopher Goodson Jr.via Facebook

Sean Walton, a lawyer representing the family, said Goodson's loved ones are skeptical of the deputy's version of the deadly encounter.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Walton told NBC News on Monday. “Who drives down the street waving a gun out of the window? This isn’t a music video. This is real life.”

Goodson was licensed to carry a concealed weapon "and Ohio does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms," according to a statement from Walton's firm.

The young man had gone to the dentist that day and fetched three Subway sandwiches before he was killed in front of his 72-year-old grandmother and two toddlers.

Goodson had parked in front of the house, walked across the front yard and was entering the home through the side entrance when he was shot, according to Walton.

“There’s no reason or justification for why any of this happened,” Walton said. “He fell and died in his own kitchen.”

When Goodson's grandmother heard the shots and screams of toddlers, she rushed to the kitchen where the deputy pointed his gun at family members and ordered them out of the house, according to Walton. The family saw the sandwiches next to Goodson's body but not the gun, their lawyer said.

"There’s really nothing that they’ve alleged or said that Casey did on his walk from the car to the house that would justify him being shot,” Walton said. “He actually was putting his key into the door when he was shot. The key was hanging in the door even hours after the shooting.”

The deputy, a 17-year veteran of the force, was not wearing a body camera, Columbus police said. Deputies in this county are not required to wear body cams.

A representative for the union representing Franklin County Sheriff's deputies could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said Tuesday that his office, in coordination with the Justice Department's civil rights division, the FBI and Columbus police, will review the facts and circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of Goodson.

Friday's slaying drew the attention of U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, incoming chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, who represents the district where Goodson was gunned down.

“Like many in the community, I am at a loss of words over the killing of Casey Christopher Goodson, Jr.," she said in a statement on Monday.

"The circumstances surrounding his tragic death are upsetting and extremely unsettling because too many Black men in our community are dying or are the victims of unjustifiable, excessive force from the very people sworn to protect and serve all of us. I join Casey’s family, friends, and the entire community in demanding accountability and seeking justice for his senseless killing.”

Hampton reported from Columbus, Ohio, and Li and Syed from New York City.