Police say Durham man left 3-year-old son in truck, got out and shot a man

Freeman Denzel Johnson, 25, of Durham.
Freeman Denzel Johnson, 25, of Durham. Courtesy of the Durham Police Department

A Durham man had his 3-year-old son in his truck when he shot a man he suspected of assaulting and carjacking him two days earlier, according to court documents.

Officers responded Wednesday afternoon to the area of 1105 W. Chapel Hill St., between the Durham Co-op Market and culinary incubator and event space The Cookery in the West End neighborhood.

They found an 18-year-old man lying the street with a gunshot wound to his leg, police said.

The teen’s injuries were “severe and life threatening,” Duke University Hospital doctors said, according to a warrant application sought by Investigator C. Moody.

Surveillance footage in the area showed a person whom police later identified as Freeman Denzel Johnson, 25, driving a red Chevrolet pickup truck with a young child inside, the warrant states.

Johnson got out of the truck and approached the 18-year-old, the warrant states.

“Johnson has what appears to be a handgun in his left pocket,” the warrant states. “Shortly after Johnson approaches the victim, the victim runs away and collapses.”

Officers stopped a truck matching the description on U.S. 15-501 near Cornwallis Road and arrested the driver, Johnson, on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, police said.

Johnson agreed to be taken with his son to a police substation to be interviewed, the warrant states.

“I explained that he was seen on surveillance footage approaching the victim,” Moody’s warrant states. “Johnson admitted to shooting the victim, in a spontaneous act of emotion, after being flagged down by the victim. Johnson stated that the victim is the suspect who assaulted and carjacked him two days earlier.”

Johnson is being held at the Durham County jail on a $55,000 bail. The 18-year-old is in stable condition, said Kammie Michael, a police spokeswoman. The 3-year-old was given to relatives, Michael said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges