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Garner Man Dies After Shooting Involving Police Officer

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GARNER, N.C. — One man is dead and a Garner police officer is on administrative leave as the State Bureau of Investigation looks into the officer's involvement in a shooting along Highway 70 early Monday morning.

Eric Jerome Barnes, 29, died late Monday morning at WakeMed. There is no word on what caused him to advance on a Garner police officer who stopped to offer help, but police said Barnes might have been under some stress.

According to investigators, Barnes was traveling west on Highway 70 in his wife's car when he pulled off to the side of the road around 3 a.m. Investigators said Officer Brian Hanson stopped and got out of his patrol car when he saw the stopped car's hazard lights on.

According to investigators, Barnes left his vehicle and started walking toward the officer.

Hanson noticed that Barnes had blood all over him and had what appeared to be a box cutter in his hand.

Investigators said Hanson called for backup and three more officers showed up and tried to calm Barnes.

Another officer tried to stop Barnes with pepper spray, but it did not work. That is when police said Barnes lunged at Hanson.

"The officers gave numerous commands to put down the box cutter throughout the entire process when he was advancing on the officer. The driver, again, advanced on the initial officer and and at that point the officer felt threatened and discharged his weapon," said Major Eric Copeland, of the Garner Police Department.

Police said they were called to Barnes' Garner home Sunday night.Barnes' wife told police that her husband might need mental help. Officerssuggested she have him committed. She said her husband had recently lost his job.

Barnes leaves behind his wife and two young children.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting; Hanson has been placed on administrative leave.

Garner police had to reroute traffic from Mechanical Boulevard to Timber Drive for about five hours early Monday as they collected evidence.


Tom Lawrence


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