ATLANTIC CITY — Dozens of family members, friends and supporters of an Atlantic City man shot and killed by police stood on a North Kentucky Avenue block Sunday afternoon in a circle of prayer.
A memorial of candles, stuffed animals, balloons and a sign that read, “Justice For Tim,” leaned against a telephone pole at the 600 block. Police tape stretched across a portion of the sidewalk, right near where Timothy Deal was shot.
“All of us loved him, and he loved everybody out here. We’re out here for Tim, to get justice for Tim,” said Deal’s mother, Gloria. “They killed the wrong kid.”
Deal, 32, of Atlantic City, was shot by a police officer Friday on that block after, authorities alleged, he stabbed the officer. Deal was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City’s Campus, where he was later pronounced dead.
Following the shooting Friday, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement alleging Deal stabbed an officer in the torso with a knife during an investigation into a hit-and-run crash at the 600 block of North Kentucky Avenue.
The prosecutor’s office said Deal was not involved in the hit-and-run and it was an “unprovoked attack.”
About 100 of Deal’s family members and friends gathered earlier Sunday outside the Public Safety Building on Atlantic Avenue to call for action before the vigil. They marched around the police building, chanting and demanding police release the body camera video of the incident.
They advocated for transparency from the department about what happened, while family members held signs that read, “Timothy Deal RIP,” “Let’s Work Together” and “Stop Gun Violence.”
Deal’s family said anyone who knew him would know the incident described by authorities didn’t sound like him.
“He’s not that kind of person,” said Taria King, Deal’s sister, who traveled to the city from Newark, wiping away tears. “He would not do that. That’s not his personality, it’s not his demeanor.”
He was a family-oriented man, family members said. Deal’s mother remembered how Timothy would always call her, and several family members said Deal was like a son to them. King said he was an amazing brother, uncle and son.
A spokeswoman for the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office said authorities plan to release the body camera video in accordance with state guidelines.
“The body camera footage will be released in accordance with Attorney General’s guidelines, which mandate that it is released within 20 days or upon substantial completion of the investigation,” spokeswoman Donna Weaver said. “We are at a very early juncture into this process.”
Authorities have not released the officer’s identity. He also was taken to ARMC’s City Campus, and was treated and released, the prosecutor’s office said.
In an audio recording of the police scanner that night, which was made public by @AtlanticCity911 on Twitter, the officer said on the radio: “We’re OK, I’m all right, but I might be stabbed.”
The investigation is continuing by the county prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit, without resort police, per state guidelines, and will include evidence submitted to the State Police Ballistics Laboratory, the prosecutor’s office said.
“We need justice, transparency, accountability, to whoever done this,” said Steve Young, an advocate standing with Deal’s family outside the Public Safety Building. “Today, we’re asking for some transparency and some accountability.”
Young, along with Deal’s parents, went into the building to ask to see the body camera video. He said following the meeting with the department that police did not show them the video, and the group is requesting a federal investigation into the incident.
“We’re going to follow it. We’re going to make them release everything,” said Deal’s father, Michael King.
An autopsy by the Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday found Deal died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Deal’s aunt Patrice Molley, of Egg Harbor Township, said outside the police building Sunday the family was told Deal was shot seven times. And the family has also not been able to see the body, Molley said.
She said she was searching for closure.
“We just want some answers,” she said. “We’re not here for problems; we just want to know what’s going on for closure for our family.”
Weaver said, “Our Victim Witness Advocate has been in contact with the family about the request to view the body.”
At the vigil, family members took turns going up to the memorial they made for Deal. Some cried, others comforted each other. Many took turns sharing their favorite memory of Deal.
“We love you, Tim,” one family member called out at the end of the vigil. “Lay in peace.”