It could be weeks before the public learns more about the shooting death of a burglary suspect in Cary by a town police officer last weekend.
Shaquian Tyrone Johnson, 22, was shot early Sunday morning, about two hours after police say they saw him leaving a home on Firetree Lane where the burglary had been reported. Cary Police Chief Tony Godwin said Monday that Johnson was carrying a stolen revolver and that Officer A.J. Lopez heard a shot and saw a muzzle flash before fatally shooting him.
Unlike police departments in Raleigh and Durham, the Cary Police Department does not produce what’s known as a five-day report – a preliminary review of initial statements from officers and reports from the emergency communications center following a police shooting or if someone dies in police custody.
Instead, the next release of information likely will come from Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who will determine whether the officer committed a crime based on the findings of the State Bureau of Investigation. In addition to the SBI investigation, Cary police are conducting an internal investigation to see if all policies and procedures were followed by officers leading up to and after the shooting.
Never miss a local story.
In the meantime, Lopez, 29, has been put on “alternative assignment status” while the investigations take place.
Freeman said the SBI will complete interviews related to the case over the next two weeks and also must test items gathered by investigators.
“We will be submitting items to be forensically tested at the state crime lab next week,” Freeman said. “Much of our timeline will depend on their time frame for processing our request.”
Johnson was scheduled to appear in court in Durham on Tuesday to answer a charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Johnson, who lived in Raleigh, also was due in court in August in Wake County, where he faced charges of misdemeanor larceny.
Johnson had previously been convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia, but other charges of simple affray, shoplifting, disorderly conduct and littering were all dismissed.
Police think Johnson broke into the home on Firetree Lane about two hours before he was shot. A woman had called 911 at 2:38 a.m. to report that a man was inside her home while she and her granddaughter hid upstairs in a closet.
Chief Godwin said Monday that officers saw Johnson run from the house when they arrived. He said officers set up a perimeter and searched the area with dogs for about two hours before finding him. Godwin said other officers were in the area and witnessed the shooting, but none of them were wearing body cameras.
Godwin said his department is thankful that a little girl and her grandmother are safe.
“And we are heartbroken that a mother will never see her son again,” he said.
Johnson was born in New Jersey and moved with his mother to North Carolina in 2008, when he was 13 or 14. In recent years, Johnson lived with his mother at two different apartment complexes in northwestern Wake County, near Brier Creek, state records show.
Johnson apparently did not attend Wake County public schools, according to Lisa Luten, a school spokeswoman.
State records show that Johnson has family in Greensboro and Essex County, N.J. Family members could not be reached for comment this week.
Johnson’s body was transported to Steven Lyons Funeral Home on New Bern Avenue, east of downtown Raleigh. A funeral home spokeswoman said Thursday that plans for his memorial service and burial were not yet completed.