Details of Cary Police Shooting of Burglary Suspect

Cary, NC – Early morning on Sunday, May 28, 2017, Cary police responded to a 911 call of a burglary, eventually leading to the shooting and death of a suspect by a Cary police officer.

At a press conference about the shooting on Monday, May 29, 2017, Cary Police Chief Tony Godwin detailed the events leading up to the shooting.

“What may feel like one event is actually several events that occurred over several hours in several blocks in one Cary neighborhood,” Godwin said.

At 2:52 AM, police responded to a 911 call from a house on Firetree Lane. The residents – a grandmother and her granddaughter – told police they saw a man inside their home. When police arrived, they saw a man in the driveway of the house in question. The man then fled police, who lost sight of him.

Over the next two hours, police learned of multiple larcenies in cars in the area and Godwin said a “pretty significant amount of property” had been recovered from around the neighborhood. Finally, at around 5 AM, officers came across the man they believe was the same suspect from the 911 call.

While trying to take the man – Shaquian Tyrone Johnson – into custody, Cary officer AJ Lopez said he heard a gunshot and saw a muzzle flash. Lopez then shot Johnson. He and other officers performed CPR on Johnson until EMS arrived. Johnson was pronounced dead at WakeMed Hospital. A revolver was recovered from the scene, which police say was stolen from one of the neighborhood cars.

There are currently three investigations into Sunday’s events: one by Cary police into the larcenies in the cars, one by Cary police into the shooting and one by the State Bureau of Investigations into the legality of the shooting, which Godwin said was by Cary’s request. The SBI will report its findings, including an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner’s Office, to the Wake County district attorney.

“We are thankful that a little girl and her grandmother are safe. We are heartbroken that a mother will never see her son again. And we are mindful that a dedicated public servant will never ever forget what happened,” Godwin said.

Lopez has been with the Cary Police Department since 2015, previously starting out in law enforcement for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department in 2011. Godwin said there is no body camera footage as typically only motor officer wear cameras on a regular basis but he is in talks with the Town of Cary to increase the availability of cameras in the budget.

Story by staff reports. Photo by Hal Goodtree.