New Bern, N.C. - Fallen New Bern Police Officer Alexander Thalmann participated in a community event in the Craven Terrace Housing Development last August, the same place he was shot last Friday night. Alderman Victor Taylor says Thalmann talked to children that day, shared advice on how to avoid home break-ins and served as security. Taylor says it was Thalmann's first week on the job.
"He was a very giving, caring police officer," Taylor said. "That event was a great event, and we want to thank Officer Thalmann for coming out and showing love for the community."
Police say Thalmann was involved in a shootout with suspect Bryan Stallings, who died on scene. A memorial was set up on a lawn behind a Craven Terrace apartment in Stallings' honor. Taylor isn't sure who placed it there but says Stallings is also being remembered.
"We want to give out our condolences and prayers to the Bryan Stallings family because they're going through some trying times as well," Taylor said.
Craven Terrace is no stranger to violence, but residents there are hopeful about a turnaround. Ernest B. Hatch suggests that neighbors look out for each other.
"The community needs to form a watch to start policing ourselves so we can lessen the pressure on ourselves," Hatch said. "You see, that death, it affected a whole lot of people."
New Bern police do perform patrols of Craven Terrace, including bicycle patrols. Alderman Taylor agrees with Hatch that a community watch program could help make Craven Terrace safer.
"It's going to take people, the community working together along with the Police Department," Taylor said. "The Police Department can't do it by themselves."
Taylor is a New Bern native and says this is the first time in his lifetime that a New Bern officer has been killed in the line of duty.
"This is very shocking to a small community like New Bern... to have a shootout," Taylor said. "It's a devastating incident... Just continue to pray. Prayer changes things."
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