Ashton Brown, 26 years old, hurried to her local sheriff’s office in North Carolina with her two children. She was terrified that her boyfriend of the same age, Aschod Ewing-Meeks, would hurt either Bella, 4 years old or Brixtyn who is only 8 months. The North Carolina sheriff’s office failed to protect Brown, who was black, from a dangerous man. The same man later killed his family, set fire to their home, and took his own life in an apparent murder-suicide, according to authorities.

Investigators now think Ewing-Meeks killed his whole family, burning their house down in Davie County afterwards. He shot himself and his girlfriend, as well as their two kids, before setting the fire that consumed them all.

Around two hours before the tragic murder-suicide, Brown and her boyfriend showed up at their local sheriff’s office on surveillance footage. Although the family has not stated outright why they needed help from authorities, they did request to speak with a deputy in order to receive assistance. The Black family made multiple attempts to speak with someone at the sheriff’s office, but they never received the help they required. Ewing-Meeks killed his girlfriend, their two kids, and then himself less than two hours after the family left. He set their home on fire afterward.

The despondent family went to their sheriff’s office at 12:10 pm on April 18, 2022, in the hope of receiving help, but unfortunately, they left five minutes later with only a phone number.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary. They really wouldn’t interact with the receptionist or tell her what they wanted,” Davie County Sheriff JD Hartman stated. He mentioned the murder-suicide in his community as “one of, if not the worst” case he had seen during his career thus far in law enforcement.

At 12:35 pm, Brown called 911 and begged to speak with a sheriff’s deputy. She said her family was in danger but didn’t explain why. Eleven minutes later, a deputy called back. Brown gave the phone to Ewing-Meeks who talked for 30 seconds before the call ended—it’s unclear if someone hung up or if the connection dropped.

The authorities called back and spoke with the family several times over the next half-hour.

“(Ewing-Meeks) advised with the officer that he thought that someone was following him, but he wasn’t in danger. They weren’t threatening him,” stated Hartman. “The officer attempted to get them to come back to the sheriff’s office. They were driving around; they wouldn’t tell the officer where they were.”

Eventually, law enforcement showed up at the fire and found that the family of four had all died from gunshots.

“All four victims are deceased from gunshot wounds,” Hartman stated. “The fire was intentionally set. Mr. Meeks was deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and we found the gun that matches all of this actually still in Mr. Meeks’ hand.”