Local News

Eyewitness: Victim Did Not Have To Die

Posted January 1, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— The only civilian eyewitness to this week's deadly shooting of a motorist by Raleigh Police says the victim did not have to die.

Police say Ed Anderson tried to run down two officers so they had to shoot in order to save themselves.

John Goggins refused to speak on camera with WRAL's Stuart Watson, because he says he fears police retaliation. Police interviewed Goggins and released him, but he says he told them what they wanted to hear. Goggins told us a different story.

Two Raleigh Police officers shot 39-year-old Ed Anderson to death, because, they say, he tried to run them down with his car.

But, the only eyewitness who was NOT a policeman questions whether Anderson had to die. 38-year-old John Goggins was riding in the passenger seat when police pulled the car over.

Police have arrested Goggins before for robbery and selling crack, but they did not charge him after Monday night's shooting.

Goggins told us off camera that an officer opened the car door and sprayed Anderson with pepper spray before the suspect put the car in gear.

So, according to Goggins, Anderson could not have seen the officers stationed in front of and behind the car.

Police say that the officers, who were stationed in front of and behind the car, opened fire after Anderson pinned them against their cars. But, Goggins says the officer at the driver-side door yelled, "I'm going to shoot" before Anderson pulled his car away.

At issue is whether police could have subdued Anderson with the pepper spray without shooting him. Pepper spray can temporarily disable suspects resisting arrest, but it doesn't always work.

The SBI found in 10 out of 11 police shootings in North Carolina that began with the use of pepper spray, police reported the spray was ineffective. Pepper spray is difficult to use, according to SBI Chief Investigator Bill Dowdy.

Raleigh Police have asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the shooting and present their findings to the District Attorney. Raleigh Police who were familiar with the shooting were not available for comment, due to the holiday.