The SBI continues its investigation of an officer-involved shooting that left one man dead; one of the two New Bern police officers has died from his injuries.
According to New Bern Police, an officer stopped an individual in the area of Craven Terrace at about 11:45 p.m. Friday. New Bern Police Chief Toussaint E. Summers Jr. said Bryan Stallings, 35, ran away from police and started shooting at two officers, Justin R. Wester and Alexander E. Thalmann.
Thalmann, 22, died from his injuries; Thalmann's autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the medical examiner. Chief Summers said Thalmann was with the New Bern Police Department seven months.
Chief Summers released the following statement at a news conference Monday:
"It is with deepest sympathy that I announce that New Bern Police Department Officer Alexander Thalmann passed away just after 1 p.m. today. His family was by his side.
The family has asked that you please respect their privacy during this time of grief. We will keep you updated on funeral arrangements for Officer Thalmann as those plans are finalized.
This has been a very tough time for the department and for the community. We have received an outpouring of support from law enforcement all over the area and some from across the State. We have also received prayers and support from the community and we are thankful for that.
Officer Thalmann spent seven short months with the New Bern Police Department, but his dedication and service to the community were evident from the very beginning. He leaves behind not just coworkers and friends, but a brotherhood of officers who remain committed to keeping our community safe.
Again, I'd like to thank my staff, the many agencies who continue to support us during this difficult time. Thank you to the Greenville Police Department for your support and use of your facilities. And last but not least, thank you to the New Bern Board of Aldermen and the city manager for their ongoing support."
Wester, 23, was treated and released from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. Chief Summers said Officer Thalmann stopped Stallings for suspicious activity.
Chief Summers said this is a very hard time for their department. "It's hard to see any law enforcement officer trying to do their job to be viciously attacked to no cause. There's never a cause to attack a police officer trying to do their job," Summers said. He said they're thankful for all the prayers and support they've received so far.
District Attorney Scott Thomas is reviewing the investigation to determine whether the shooting of the suspect was justified. He said all indications show that the shooting was justified. Thomas said the investigation will take at least two weeks.
Tamika Jarman said Stallings was one of her best friends. She said she saw the whole confrontation from the window of her home.
"Something just told me to look out the window. I see him coming up and see him putting the bike down. I'm seeing the police car pull up and asking him to 'come here'. He was like, 'sir why are you stopping me' and I guess it was because of the bike because he did not have a light, but he did have a light on the bike," Jarman said.
Jarman said that Officer Thalmann and Stallings spoke for some time, and then Thalmann called for backup. “All I know is a minivan pulled up and more police got out,” Jarman said. She said she could tell that Stallings was upset. She said police started surrounding Stallings. "He cooperated though. He did everything. He just got mad and upset, because all these police were just coming,” Jarman said.
Jarman said she thinks he might have been afraid of getting caught with the gun he had on him. "The face that he had, it was like I don’t know, like he was just looking at me, like it was about to go down. That’s how he was looking at me like, 'Mika I think this is the last time we are going to see each other,'" Jarman said.
She said he'd told her several times he would never go to prison again.
In North Carolina, Stallings has a 1996 drug conviction, a 1997 resisting an officer conviction, and a 1997 larceny conviction.
In addition, Stallings got out of jail in Florida in late 2012 for not complying with regulations from a previous sex crime conviction. In 2002, he was convicted for resisting an officer with violence.