SHALLOTTE, NC (WECT) - A peaceful protest, Justice for Brandon Webster, took place Friday evening in Shallotte.
About 75 people gathered at Mulberry Park at 5 p.m., marching a quarter of a mile down Main St. before returning to the park for prayer, poetry, and speeches.
“He was loved by many people. You can tell by the way they’re coming and attending," said Ruby Stanley, Webster’s aunt, who attended the protest. "He was just loveable.”
Brandon Webster, 28, was shot by Trooper S. A. Collins on Jan. 1 during a traffic stop, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
“I’ve seen a lot of my family and his family, everybody around the whole town, like broken," said Jaquan Brooks, protest organizer and lifelong friend of Brandon Webster.
Strangers, friends, and family gathered in solidarity for Webster, wearing labeled T-shirts, holding signs, and yelling chants.
At the front of the protest, people carried a sign that read, “Justice for Brandon Webster: Father, Son, Brother, Cousin, Friend, and More.”
Shallotte Mayor Walter Eccard met with protestors before the march and said, “I’m here to welcome people and have been working closely with them. We support their First Amendment rights.”
The Shallotte Police Department had a small presence at the rally and blocked off a section of Main St. for the march.
“It hits so close to home. We are used to seeing it on TV or reading about it in the newspaper. And now it happened, it hit home, so it inspired me to stand up for something," said Brooks.
The chants included, “Justice for Brandon Webster,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”
Brooks said he feels justice for Webster would include murder charges for Trooper S. A. Collins.
“That he be charged with murder and go through the court process like I would if I were to murder somebody in cold blood," said Brooks when asked about his version of justice.
Signs included phrases like, “We will not be silent. Justice for Brandon Webster,” “We’ve had enough of police brutality,” and “#BlackLivesMatter.”
Shalonda Bennetone with the National Black Leadership Caucus attended the march.
“This has to stop. You can’t just keep killing innocent young black men. He did whatever he did in life, that’s his business. But the way they took him out of here, it just wasn’t right," said Bennetone.
Webster’s friends and family hope to carry his memory on beyond the march.
“His words were, ‘Grandma I love you, grandma I love you... I love you.’ That’s him he loved people," said his aunt.
“Brandon was a good dude. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. Kept a smile on his face. He’s just that type of guy that got killed for no reason," said Brooks.
Sgt. Chris Knox, a spokesperson for the NCHP, said Collins discharged his firearm as “the violator vehicle accelerated towards him, fleeing the scene.”
Webster fled the scene and was later located at Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center where he died from the shooting injuries, according to the Highway Patrol.
Collins was placed on administrative duty, as is agency policy any time an officer discharges their weapon.
The incident remains under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). An SBI spokesperson said Friday the agency is waiting on autopsy findings, and the case will then be delivered to the district attorney.
Highway Patrol confirmed on Friday that Collins remains on administrative duty.