Chief: Cary officer returned fire, killing burglary suspect

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Shaquian Tyrone Johnson was fatally wounded by an officer after Cary Police said he fired a stolen weapon.

A Cary police officer who fatally shot a burglary suspect early Sunday morning did so after he saw the man fire a gun, Police Chief Tony Godwin said Monday.

Cary Police and the SBI are investigating the incident.

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It happened around 2:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Firetree Lane after officers responded to a 911 call about a burglar in a home.

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Cary Police Chief Tony Godwin said the officer fired in self defense.

When officers got there, they started a search of the area and discovered that in addition to the home break-in, there had been thefts from several vehicles in the neighborhood.

They also found 22-year-old Shaquian Tyrone Johnson and shots were fired as police tried to take him into custody, according to the Cary Police Department.

Shaquian Tyrone Johnson

Johnson was wounded and later died at WakeMed. An autopsy is being performed by the State Medical Examiner's Office.

"We are thankful a little girl and her grandmother are safe," Godwin said. "We are heartbroken that a mother will never see her son again,"

No Cary police officers were hurt. Investigators said a revolver taken during one of the night's thefts was found at the shooting scene.

"All I know is that the officer, at this point, did report that he heard the gun being fired and saw that flash from the muzzle," Godwin said. "What direction that was, honestly I don't have that information."

Godwin said officers nearby witnessed the shooting.

The officer involved has been identified as 29-year-old A.J. Lopez. He has been with the department since 2015. He previously worked as a deputy for the Lee County Sheriff's Office since 2011.

Cary police officer A.J. Lopez

Officer Lopez has been placed on Alternative Assignment status.

"No one got up yesterday morning wanting or even expecting to deal with such a sad set of circumstances, and our thoughts are with everyone everywhere who's been touched by this tragedy," said Town of Cary Police Chief Tony Godwin.

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Cary Police Officer discusses shooting with ABC11

Police said the 911 call was made by a grandmother who said she and her granddaughter were hiding from an intruder in a closet.


The woman told the operator she saw the man come into the house while she was on the couch watching TV and made it upstairs to warn the other woman without being seen.

Neighbors Vincent and Mae Thai said detectives knocked on their door around 4 a.m. Sunday morning, informing them that they had been robbed.

Authorities told them a burglar had broken into their cars and used a garage door opener to try and break into their home.

"He suspected that our inside door was locked and prevented the perpetrator to come through," Vincent said.

After the suspect was unable to enter the home, he moved onto their neighbors, successfully breaking in and entering two homes.

"At this moment there are so many policemen here trying to protect us and it turns out to be a sad ending," Mae said.

"I don't think there's anything in life worth this much. Not for this. Seeing a life taken for this was not necessary," Vincent added.

Crime reports show 16 burglaries took place in Cary in May. So far, there have been nearly 100 for 2017.

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting, which is standard in North Carolina officer-involved shootings.

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officer-involved shootingshootingburglarywake county newsCary
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