Local News

Man shot by Wake Forest police dies

Posted May 6, 2015 10:21 p.m. EDT
Updated May 8, 2015 5:12 a.m. EDT

— 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."