No indictment for Davidson County deputy after 18-year-old Frederick Cox Jr. shot, killed at funeral in High Point; family will file civil suit

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HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — A Grand Jury has decided not to indict in the shooting death of Frederick Cox Jr.

On November 8, 2020, Davidson County Detective Michael Shane Hill was at Living Water Baptist Church on Brentwood Street in High Point, attending the funeral service of Jonas Tramone Thompson Jr., according to District Attorney Avery Crump.

Hill was invited to the funeral by Thompson’s family and attended in plain clothes.

Cox, 18, was also attending the funeral.

High Point Police said that as the funeral concluded, and crowds of people were leaving the church, a number of unknown vehicles pulled up and began shooting into the crowd. 

Roughly 70 bullets were later found by High Point investigators. 

The attorney for Cox’s family, Allen Rogers, explained that Cox was sitting inside of his car when the shooting started. Rogers said Cox got out of his car and ran to the church to help get people to safety. 

“Fred opened the door to allow this young man and his mother…to go inside the church. That officer shot him five times in the back,” Rogers said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner says that Cox Jr. died after he was struck by multiple gunshot wounds.

Cox was the only person who died during the chaos. 

On Tuesday, the Grand Jury was presented with two bills of indictment for voluntary manslaughter and felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

The Grand Jury decided not to indict after hearing witness interviews and seeing evidence. The jury found “insufficient evidence to support criminal charges,” according to a news release.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement on Wednesday:

“After a systematic and thorough investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, the Frederick Cox case was presented to the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office. As this seven months long investigation unfolded, and has now come to a conclusion, we have learned that no probable cause was found to charge our Deputy in the death of Mr. Cox. There are no further statements at this time.”

At a news conference on Wednesday, speaking on behalf of the Cox family, Rev. Gregory Drumwright said the family will file a civil suit in lieu of the “unjustifiable” death of Fred Cox Jr.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office placed the deputy on administrative leave, per protocol. 

Ten days after the shooting, State Bureau Investigators released a brief report, which explained some of the initial findings in the case. 

It stated that the deputy had been asked to attend the funeral. It was held for a young man who had been murdered, and the hope was that the deputy, if appearing in plain clothes, could help track down witnesses. 

The report also states that the deputy observed Cox with a handgun, and that Cox had a handgun next to him when he died. High Point police have also released findings that Cox was known to have gang affiliates.

Witnesses tell FOX8 they never saw Cox in possession of a firearm, and his family denounced the allegations made by police about his gang affiliations.

His mother, Tenicka Shannon, and his friends closest to him have said he was not a gang member and had posted several times on social media against gang violence. 

In March, during a news conference, Cox’s mother, their attorney and Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, addressed recent findings in an autopsy report of Cox.

It showed that he was shot in the back multiple times and had no signs of gun residue on his hands, meaning he did not fire any weapon at the time of his death. 

At the news conference, Crump said he felt the autopsy report shows the deputy was negligent.

“There was nobody shooting at this side of the church. That’s what all the eye witnesses said. The only person who shot was the police officer,” Crump said.

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