Durham News

July 23, 2014

Durham police release report of officer-involved shooting

Police chief Jose Lopez, in a report to the city manager that was made public Tuesday, said a 21-year-old man this month fired a round of gunshots at two women and a child before firing a single gunshot at officers who responded to the shootings. One of the department’s K9 officers, B.K. Johnson, reported that he fired a single shot “toward the second floor,” where a man “raised his gun at him and did not drop it,” according to a preliminary report of an officer-involved shooting that was made public on Tuesday after Lopez submitted the document to Durham City Manager Thomas Bonfield.

Police Chief Jose Lopez, in a report to the city manager that was made public Tuesday, said a 21-year-old man this month fired a round of gunshots at two women and a child before being wounded by a single gunshot fired by a Durham Police Department K-9 officer.

Officer B.K. Johnson reported that he fired a single shot “toward the second floor,” where a man “raised his gun at him and did not drop it,” according to a preliminary report of the shooting.

Officers later found the man, Cayetano Castro-Merino, lying in the doorway of an apartment at the Burton Apartments in the 1500 block of Mathison Street, according to the report.

Emergency workers transported Castro-Merino to Duke University Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries police described as serious.

Johnson has been placed on administrative duty while the State Bureau of Investigation completes an investigation of the incident, which is standard policy in officer-involved shootings.

The incident occurred July 9 just after 2:15 a.m.

Lopez reported that a woman phoned 911 to report that she, a friend and a 7-month-old child had been shot at while they were walking from Sowell Street to Mathison Street.

No one was injured, but the woman later told officers they thought the man fired one gunshot at them and then at least four more as they fled with the child, according to the preliminary report.

Their report corroborated that of Officer L.A. Kirkman, who was taking a robbery report a short distance away at the time. Kirkman said she had heard one gunshot from the area where the women had been, then a flurry of four or five gunshots after that.

Two officers, J.A. Daniels and R.J. Miller, answered the call, and Johnson and Officer A.B. Beck arrived at the scene shortly afterward as backup.

Daniels and Miller reported smelling “recently fired ammunition.”

Daniels, Beck and Johnson checked the second floor breezeway on the west side of the building but saw nothing. Then Beck and Daniels went to check the east side while Johnson remained on the west side, according to Lopez’s report.

When Daniels heard Johnson order someone to “drop the gun,” he ran back to the west side of the building, according to the report. Daniels reported that he saw Johnson fire one shot toward the second floor of the building.

Johnson had taken cover behind a parked car that was between 18 yards and 20 yards from the armed man when he fired a gunshot, according to the report. He told Daniels that the suspect had raised a gun at him and did not drop it when ordered.

When another man, Oliverio Calvario-Villalba, 38, appeared in the same doorway, the report says Johnson yelled commands at him in Spanish and in English, but the man refused to comply with the demands. So, Daniels and Beck arrested Calvario-Villalba.

They found Castro-Merino was on the floor in the doorway of an apartment, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head. The officers also found a Smith & Wesson M&P .22-caliber rifle with a 50-round magazine and scope next to Castro-Merino. The weapon was reported stolen in Orange County, according to the report.

SBI agents later found a loaded Rossi .38-caliber revolver in the apartment along with several bags of what appeared to be cocaine and “a large number of Tecate beer cans in the front room of the apartment,” according to the report.

The report also indicated that Calvario-Villalba later told investigators he had been drinking beer with Castro-Merino earlier that evening but had fallen asleep. He told the police he was awakened by the sound of a single gunshot and then saw Castro-Merino lying on the floor.

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