JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Varshan Brown was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday after he was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault against a police officer and other charges following a controversial 2021 drug raid in Camden County.
But Brown was found not guilty by a jury for the charge of felony murder in the death of his cousin who was shot during the raid.
Prosecutors said he fired at deputies who were serving a “knock and announce” search warrant before dawn at his home in May 2021.
A shooting broke out within seconds after Camden County deputies knocked down the door of Brown’s darkened home in Woodbine, about 100 miles south of Savannah, just before 5 a.m. on May 4, 2021. The officers had a warrant to search the house for drugs.
Brown’s cousin, 37-year-old Latoya James, was killed by bullets as deputies and Brown fired guns at each other. Brown was wounded and later charged. Local prosecutors brought no charges against the deputies after concluding they were justified in using deadly force.
The family of James filed a federal lawsuit against the Camden County Sheriff’s Office seeking $25 million in damages for her death. That lawsuit is still ongoing.
The James family’s attorneys say deputies didn’t give Brown enough time to come to the door which led him to open fire thinking a robber broke into his home.