Local News

Suspected bank robber arrested after police chief shoots, misses

Posted June 9, 2010
Updated March 27, 2011

— Fremont Police Chief Ronald Rawlings shot at a suspected bank robber four times Wednesday, without hitting him, before arresting the man.

One shot went through Clifton Earl Johnson's pant leg but did not hit his body, according to authorities.

“I didn’t want to kill him and I am glad that I didn’t hit him, but it could have easier been a more tragic end,” Rawlings said.

Police arrested Johnson, 57, after he allegedly went into Heritage Bank, 100 N. Wilson St., at about 9:30 a.m. and ordered the bank manager into the vault at gun point. Fremont Police Chief Ronald Rawlings Police chief shoots, misses suspected bank robber

The police chief, who was a few blocks away, responded to the call and came face-to-face with the suspect.

"I parked my car and I yelled for him to stop," Rawlings said. "And when I did, he brandished a gun and sort of hid behind a stop sign. And when he aimed a gun at me, I fired at him. I think I ended up firing at him four times."

Johnson was being held under a $200,000 bond at the  Wayne County jail Wednesday afternoon.

A nearby school was put on lock-down during the brief altercation.


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  • Jenny8 Jun 10, 2010

    For the ones of you that think his sick daughter might possibly be a valid excuse for robbing a bank, Do you think his daughter was sick the other two times he was arrested and convicted of robbing banks in Pennsylvania.

  • GLOCKMASTER Jun 10, 2010

    "I didn’t want to kill him and I am glad that I didn’t hit him, but it could have easier been a more tragic end,” Rawlings said."

    Yes the tragedy here would have been if your misses would have hit a bystander or one of the children at the nearby school.

    Obviously he doesn't have the mindset that he should have. Once you are the hunted all bets are off and it's game on. If he is glad he didn't hit him then he should have left his gun in the holster which actually may have been the best thing to do since he didn’t hit what he was shooting at. I see that he hasn't taken the time to improve his shooting skills since he retired from another agency.

  • ForTheLoveOf Jun 10, 2010

    Yes, love the sleight in the title of the article WRAL. Has the author of this little piece ever shot at a moving, ARMED target before? Shooting at a non-moving, non-armed target at certain distances with time as a stress factor is difficult. Needless to say shooting while being shot at, and also having to concern oneself with the safety of the public is even MORE stressful.

  • jumooring Jun 9, 2010

    Ok...I also live in Fremont and Ive read all the comments and I think the bigger picture if TRUE that this man was in a desperate state for money because his child is sick. I for one would like to find out if this is true and If so I would like to help his child in some way. People do things in desperation that they ordinarly wouldnt do. I think it was wrong how this man risk other lives for his stupity but can you punish his family for his mistake when he thought this was his only way for help...Think about it.....

  • tiggrsbounc Jun 9, 2010

    I for one am impressed with how the Chief handled the situation. The school is one block down from the bank and I have a niece and nephew that attend the school. Its so easy to judge someone else and how they handled a situation but until you've been faced with that type of situation, I dont think you have the right to pick apart the chiefs actions.
    Thank you Chief Rawlings; you are appreciated by your community!

  • FireFaerie88 aka snugglebunny Jun 9, 2010

    LOL @ dwntwnboy

    On a positive note, the cop in the 2nd photo has a GREAT /\$$

  • dwntwnboy Jun 9, 2010

    Glad he got the criminal scum. Ya have to laugh at the fact the criminal was hiding behind a stop sign and still wasn't hit by a trained LEO. Chief needs a few more minutes on the practice range- heavens forbid if the next criminal hides behind a parking meter or something- it could turn out ugly!! LOL

  • Paladin2 Jun 9, 2010

    This was very poor journalism to try to slant the story toward the marksmanship of the police chief. Missed shots are expected during a gunfight. The story should have been about an armed bank robbery suspect that was captured rather than trying to poke fun at an officer who was performing his duty in a life or death situation.

  • didisaythat Jun 9, 2010

    The anti-police people are loving today's articles on WRAL...Just a reminder, what LEO's go through is not worth the little pay and no pay raises when the county and city don't know how to balance a budget, it is hard to get people to do a job that obviously so many disrespect and do not understand what it takes to be an officer. Istead of criticizing on a blog go out and get to know an officer..you will be surprised.

  • bgood Jun 9, 2010

    I live a few houses down from where the shooting took place and was not home, but my family was. I am glad our Chief Rawlings was there to keep my Family and Fremont safe!

    The Gooding Family