LUMBERTON — The weapon a 46-year-old Red Springs man was said to have pointed at police before he was shot to death Saturday was a toy gun, according to the State Bureau of Investigation.
Matthew Oxendine was shot Saturday by law enforcement personnel while inside a vehicle, the headliner of which he allegedly had set fire to.
“In the vehicle that he was in, SBI crime scene agents recovered a toy gun with a wooden stock and a metal bolt with a short barrel,” said Anjanette Grube, SBI Public Information director.
“I knew Matt didn’t have no gun, not a gun that would shoot,” said Gregory Oxendine, Matthew’s brother.
He learned while talking to an agent that the gun was found between a seat and the car’s center console, Gregory Oxendine said.
As the events of the shooting unfolded, Matthew’s vehicle was parked at the home of his cousin Hope Bullard, who watched with her boyfriend Shawn Dial, while she was on the phone with Gregory, he said. He was on vacation in Tennessee at the time, but drove home and was in Lumberton by 8 a.m. the next day.
Police rammed Matthew’s Chrysler PT Cruiser from the front, and officers rushed the vehicle before firing shots, he said. After the shooting, he counted more than 20 bullet holes in the car’s windshield and a side mirror.
Bullard was told to stay in the house, and that police would not harm Matthew, Gregory said.
“Y’all I bet they was at least 10—12 officer’s unloaded on him with head shots. His body caught fire from all ammunition they put in him and his car, right here in front of me,” a statement posted Sunday on Bullard’s Facebook page reads in part.
She video-called Gregory after the shooting occurred.
“They dragged my brother out of the car,” Gregory said.
He also watched via the video call as law enforcement personnel used fire extinguishers to put out the flames on his brother’s body.
“He laid there dead ‘til paramedics came up,” Gregory said.
His brother would often call when he was drinking, and has called 911 for psychiatric help in the past, Gregory said.
“Matt weren’t going to kill nobody,” he said.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office responded about 9:41 p.m. to 32 Janice Drive in Pembroke after a 911 call was received, and the call was disconnected after Oxendine spoke of bleeding out, according to a call record released by the Sheriff’s Office. The Communications Division tried to contact Oxendine after the initial 911 hangup. Those calls went to voicemail.
Communications eventually made contact again with Oxendine and asked if he had an emergency.
According to the call record, Oxendine replied, “I’ll be alright. I don’t need y’all. I’m going to bleed out.”
“Communications asked Oxendine if he needed an ambulance and the phone disconnected,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
More calls to Oxendine went to voicemail.
Deputies made contact with Oxendine, who was driving a vehicle on Janice Drive and rushing the motor, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He then backed the vehicle into the driveway at 32 Janice Drive.
“While on scene for over an hour and a half, officers spoke with Matthew Oxendine. One of the officers who spoke with Oxendine knew him for several years. The purpose of the conversations was to deescalate the situation, so that medical attention could be rendered,” documentation released by the Sheriff’s Office reads in part.
Oxendine set fire to the interior headliner of his vehicle during the conversation, according to the Sheriff’s Office. After requesting backup from fire personnel, deputies tried to get Oxendine out of the vehicle so he could be treated for the injuries about which he had called 911.
“During the conversation with Oxendine, he continued to make statements to the officers about bleeding out and made threats towards harming law enforcement officers. Oxendine informed the responding deputies that he had a weapon and had did prison time for shooting at law enforcement in the past,” a Sheriff’s Office statement reads in part.
When SWAT operators arrived, they tried to get Oxendine to exit his vehicle, as smoke began to come from the vehicle.
“SWAT operators then approached the vehicle and Oxendine pointed what appeared to be a firearm in the direction of the operators. Oxendine was then shot and deputies called for EMS technicians who were standing by,” the Sheriff’s Office statement reads in part.
Oxendine was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gregory Oxendine said other alternatives could have been used, like rubber bullets or teargas.
“This is a man who called 911 for help and ended up assassinated,” he said.
All officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Information about the number of officers involved was not released to The Robesonian.
The Robeson County District Attorney’s Office responded to the scene to initiate an investigation with the SBI, which is usual for officer-involved shootings, according to Matt Scott, the county’s district attorney.
“The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations will continue to investigate the officer involved shooting and all findings will be turned over to the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office,” a Sheriff’s office statement reads in part.