State News

Prosecutor clears officer who killed burglary suspect

Posted 7:27 p.m. Friday
Updated 7:29 p.m. Friday

— Authorities have cleared a North Carolina police officer who killed a burglary suspect in May.

Cary police Officer Andre Lopez was justified in using deadly force against 22-year-old Shaquian Johnson and will not face charges, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman announced Friday.

"Officer Lopez reasonably believed that his and the lives of other officers were endangered when he shot Mr. Johnson," Freeman concluded in her report.

According to the report , Lopez was among several officers who responded to a 911 call about 3 a.m. May 28 from a woman who said her teenage granddaughter woke to sounds of someone in the home and peered over the upstairs balcony railing to see a stranger with a bag. When officers arrived, a man took off running. A vehicle registered in Johnson's name was parked several homes away.

After searching for a couple of hours, officers saw Johnson going through the belongings of another vehicle in the community. When they told him to show his hands, he instead ran away.

Lopez told investigators that he heard a gunshot and saw a muzzle flash before firing. Another officer told investigators he too heard a gunshot and saw Johnson turn back toward the officers as he ran. Johnson collapsed in an alleyway. He died at a local hospital.

The report says a revolver stolen from the vehicle where officers spotted Johnson was found near him in the alleyway, and tests at the North Carolina State Crime Lab determined Johnson had fired it.

An autopsy determined Johnson was shot twice in the face near his lip, once in his left arm and once on the left side of his back. The back wound was the fatal one, as it went through his left lung and struck the pulmonary artery.

The 29-year-old officer has been on administrative duty pending the review. He's worked at the Cary police department since 2015 and previously worked as a Lee County deputy.

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