By Sara Belsole
LEE COUNTY, AL - Lee County Road 243 in Smiths Station was quiet Monday morning. Neighbors still reacting to the deadly shooting that took place in their front yards.
33 year-old Eddie Nevels died after he was shot in the head by a Lee County Sheriff's Deputy, who reportedly opened fire in fear for his life.
Officials say the deputy spotted Nevels' van around 10:30 central time on Saturday morning. They say the license plate on the van came up stolen out of Columbus in November.
Officials say Nevels refused to pull over. They say when the deputy got out of his patrol car, Nevels reportedly accelerated towards him.
The deputy says he issued multiple verbal commands before firing several shots, striking Nevels once in the head.
There was a seven-year-old boy in the passenger's seat. He was not injured.
"We feel for all the families involved, the families of the suspect in this particular case and the families of our deputy. No one is not touched by this," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says.
The investigation has been turned over to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. The deputy, who has been on the force for more than five years, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
"If there is a situation where any law enforcement officer feels like their lives are in danger, then they are going to do whatever they need to protect themselves," Jones says.
But Nevels' close friend, Brandy Nix, say she still has a lot of unanswered questions.
"He was never a violent person at all. He was never one to run for the police or anything like that," Nix says.
NBC 38 spoke with the homeowners who heard the whole incident off camera. They say they did hear the deputy issue multiple verbal commands before shots were fired.
Nix says the seven-year-old was a friend's son that Nevels took care of often. She says the two had just returned from a fishing trip on Saturday, and that the boy's story of what happened doesn't match officials'.
"He says he didn't hit anybody, he doesn't know what happened, that he doesn't know why they shot Eddie," Nix says.
And as for the stolen van, Nix says, "He had just bought it, and the tag on the van was the one on it when he bought it."
Sheriff Jay Jones says the deputy's patrol car does have a dashboard camera and it has been turned over to the ABI.
Nix says friends are working to set up a fund to help pay for Nevels' funeral.
Just last year, Gregory Henderson was convicted and sentenced to death after running over and killing Lee County Sheriff Deputy James Anderson.
WLTZ NBC 38
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