Local News

Man shot by Wake Forest police dies

Posted May 6, 2015
Updated May 8, 2015

— An 18-year-old man shot by Wake Forest police Wednesday night has died, authorities said.

David William Johnson, of 2545 Spring Oaks Way in Raleigh, died at WakeMed after he was shot by Wake Forest police officers David Cohen and Darryl Ragland. The officers were not injured.

Cohen and Ragland initially encountered Johnson at 300 Stone Monument Drive after Raleigh police requested assistance regarding the discharge of a stolen firearm.

“We have a subject here who stole a weapon, fired it in the air and took off," a Raleigh police officer said, according to police radio traffic. "We have reason to believe on Cimarron Parkway. I’m trying to pull up an address.”

Johnson fled as the officers approached him, authorities said.

Both officers pursued Johnson, who wrecked his vehicle on Grandmark Street, authorities said.

"Preliminary investigations indicate Johnson exited the vehicle armed with a handgun in plain view," the department said in a statement. "Officers Cohen and Ragland gave multiple verbal commands to Johnson to drop his weapon. Johnson failed to comply, and officers Cohen and Ragland fired their weapons, striking Johnson multiple times."

The shooting happened in a parking lot between The Factory, a popular entertainment complex, and a ballpark at about 9:30 p.m.

"Based on our investigation, our officers responded exactly as they’re trained to do," said Bill Crabtree, town spokesman. "They offered multiple times to drop the firearm but he simply didn’t comply."

The two officers performed CPR and provided first aid to Johnson before he was taken to WakeMed, Crabtree said.

Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in officer-involved shootings. The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident, which is also standard.

"It’s the worst thing you can imagine when you have to use deadly force against the people in the community you’re sworn to protect," Crabtree said.

Cohen has been a police officer for three years and joined Wake Forest police in March. On his first day on the job, his wife suddenly became sick and died after a bacterial infection spread to her blood stream. Ragland, an officer for five years, joined the department in Feb. 2014. Both are assigned to the department's patrol division.

Johnson's criminal history includes alcohol, weapons, burglary and resisting arrest charges.

Johnson was a student at Wake Forest High School. He withdrew from the school in January.

Investigators were seen placing evidence markers around a black Honda, which authorities said was Johnson's vehicle, and a marked Wake Forest police vehicle Wednesday night.

Witnesses in the area at the time of the shooting said they heard five to six shots.

"It was pretty intense. The cops were moving fast," Daniel Bray said. "While we were talking we heard the gunshots. We heard probably five. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. And then a lot of sirens."


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  • Donald Wilkins Mar 5, 2016
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    I'm sorry there will be no rioting in NC. You all should be happy about that.

  • Tammy Rush May 9, 2015
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    "Seriously you won't hear from no one about this shooting, why, because he isn't black."

    No, because it was justified.

  • Belinda Warrick May 8, 2015
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    Where's the outrage and riots. Why isn't obama commenting on this "police brutality"? Now let have our "purge" and take a dump in our own beds and burn down our houses. We should definitely rob the liquor stores first then set them on fire. Let's all wear masks like in the movies. Al Sharpton where are you, we need your help. He wasn't doing anything wrong, he raised his hands up and just because he had a gun in them and it was aimed at you doesn't mean he was a bad person. He was a good son who loved his family and would never hurt anyone. They shot him for no reason. He was always looking out for the community, you know he was a provider, of guns and drugs and such. Blah blah blah blah blah blah SARCASM INTENDED. Seriously you won't hear from no one about this shooting, why, because he isn't black.

  • John Dees May 8, 2015
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    And 4 commments later I need to take Darookies award away from that stupid and give it to you, stupid. Happy Friday to all as Coley enters the weekend our winner

  • Kristi Bobbitt Coley May 8, 2015
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    Will a cellphone camera video appear next week showing the victim had no gun at all? These cops are starting to make up stories more and more these days.

  • Robert Spencer May 8, 2015
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    . Mary, by law, at 18 he cannot legally own, posess, or carry a handgun. You need to know the facts before you make such statements.

  • Fred Kozlof May 8, 2015
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    If you read the info in this story, plus the info in the N&O this morning, you'll see that this was a troubled depressed young man, and actions like 'shooting into the air' appear to have been a 'chase me down' request, and thus quite likely a 'suicide by police' action. Very sad that our youth gets into such situations.

  • Ashley Moore May 8, 2015
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    There are too many kids at the Factory to have a person running around brandishing a gun. Why did he not drop the weapon when ordered?

  • Mike DaRookie May 8, 2015
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    umm. ok. fact. dumbest post so far on this story. police don't need to wait for a gun to be pointed at them before firing. they don't need to wait to be shot or shot at before firing. it's called the totality of the circumstances. this is phrase used in court determining the reasonableness behind police actions and even suspect/civilian actions. fact: known that the weapons was stolen (felony), fact: known that the weapon was fired (misdemeanor) fact: known that the suspect fled from police in a vehicle (felony) fact: known that he wrecked the car and ran (misdemeanor). fact: known that when confronted by leo, he refused lawful commands (misdemeanor). fact: totality of circumstances- armed suspect having committed numerous felony and misdemeanor crimes presented an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to the public as well as leo. fact: shooting 100% justified

  • Mike DaRookie May 8, 2015
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    reign in our law enforcement? dude, you are so disconnected from reality that it's bordering on hillarious. the supreme court alone has "reigned" in law enforcement more in the last 10 years than any other thing/goverment/law has in the last 100 years. cops are more restricted this day and age then ever before. there is more oversight than there ever has been in the past. more checks and balances. seriously. steal/beg/buy a clue. you are in over your head and truly have no grasp on reality.