It was this June that the grand jury of Guilford County decided not to indict North Carolina deputy, Michael Shane Hill, for killing eighteen-year old Fred Cox.
Cox, a Black man who was shot dead at a funeral by the deputy, was said to have died trying to protect a bystanding mother and her son from a drive-by, according to witnesses.
The incident happened in November, when Cox was attending a memorial service for a loved one who had recently been killed, at a church in North Carolina. Shots were fired through an apparent drive-by outside the church as the crowd of attendees were leaving the memorial service, before Cox, who was already outside of the building, ran back to the door to hold it open and guard an anxious mother and her twelve-year old son who were outside looking for coverage. As he attempted to get them back inside the church, Cox was killed on the scene as multiple shots were fired from the local deputy, hitting Cox from behind. The twelve-year old boy suffered a hand injury after being grazed by a bullet fired by Hill. Cox’s lawsuit claims that he was shot, not once, but multiple times.
He loved, oh my God, he loved his two kids and they have to live with this forever,” says Mary Smith, the Grandmother of Fred Cox.
According to sources, Hill reported that Cox had a gun–saying that other witnesses had even seen Cox with a gun to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, despite Cox’s family and attorneys saying otherwise. Attorney of the witnesses Cox died attempting to help stated there was no way Cox could’ve had a gun drawn while holding the door and ushering the witnesses in.
Despite the efforts, no charges were made against Michael Shane Hill, and it is assumed that he continues to be on the job, as no disciplinary actions were faced to prevent him from doing so. Fred Cox was his mother’s only child, and his mother has expressed her grief through the loss and injustice publicly.
“Fred died being a hero while Black,” says Cox’s family attorney, Ben Crump. The 12-year-old boy who Fred protected from being shot wrote a letter to Fred’s family shortly after he was killed.
“To Fred’s mom and family,
My name is Tavaris, and I am 12 years old. My mom is Vivian Wright, and she works for the funeral home. I just want to start off by saying thank you. Thank you because your son Fred saved my life. He also saved my mom’s life. On Sunday, November 8th, 2020, when this incident occurred, Fred opened the door for me and my mom so we wouldn’t get hurt. If he had not opened the door and has us go in first, I may not be here today. So thank you for your son’s good heart and sacrifice. I never knew him personally but he still decided to save my life.
I am so sorry that he passed away. I want you to know that you raised your son well and if you want me to be your Godson I will. I love you and your family and I will make sure that I ask God to bless you. Fred, My Hero.”