Police offer few answers in morning shooting

Jul. 16, 2014 @ 05:18 PM

DURHAM — The Durham Police Department is offering up few details about an early morning shooting that left one man with life-threatening injuries.

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said after officers responded to call of shots fired at 1507 Mathison Street, near the Burton Apartments about 2:17 a.m.

When police arrived on scene they found a man with a weapon described as a long shot gun.

“Commands were made for the individual to drop the long-gun,” Lopez said. He said the officers gave commands in English to begin with, but switch to Spanish after hearing bystanders yelling in Spanish.

Lopez said the man, who has yet to be identified, was shot in the head by Officer Brian Johnson. Johnson has been the police force since November 2003. He is currently on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, which is policy.

So far investigators believe the man was only shot once. Lopez believed the officer feared for his life but investigators are still unclear as to the “level of engagement” between the individual and the police officer.

Lopez also believes that the shooting was in step with procedure and training.

“Nothing has been brought to my attention that would lead me to have any concerns at this point in time,” Lopez said.

Lopez said new policies and training have been implemented since a string of police-involved shootings over the past two years, and the officers are up to date in those.

However, he believes that police-involved shootings are never a good outcome.

“It’s never a better situation when a Durham police officer has to use his firearm in an event.” Lopez said. “It was a very dangerous situation ... for all involved.”

The 911-call recording reveals that a woman called 911 reporting being shot had, she had a young baby with her. She ducked behind a car for protection.

The caller or the child she was with was not injured.

The caller said a man with a gun was on the second floor of the apartment building wearing a white T-Shirt.

The State Bureau of Investigations is still investigating the case. This was the first police involved shooting of the year.

No charges have been filed, as it is still an on-going investigation.


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