DA: Fatal shooting of man who killed New Bern officer justified
Updated On: May 08 2014 09:56:50 PM CDT
The district attorney has announced that a New Bern police officer was justified in shooting and killing a man who fatally shot another police officer.
District Attorney Scott Thomas released the SBI's findings Thursday afternoon on what exactly happened on the night of March 28 in the area of Craven Terrace in New Bern. The events led to the death of 22-year-old Officer Alexander Thalmann of the New Bern Police Department.
Below is the SBI's timeline of events. To view the full report, CLICK HERE (PDF).
--MARCH 28, 11:43 P.M.
According to the Thomas, it all started at about 11:43 p.m. on March 28, when Thalmann was on routine patrol and saw 35-year-old Bryan Augustus Stallings riding a bicycle in the rain. Stallings was wearing dark clothing and had no lights on his bike while on a public street, prompting Officer Thalmann to stop Stallings on Pavie Avenue, Thomas says in his report.
Officer Thalmann spoke with Stallings and noticed a strong smell of marijuana on him, according to Thomas. Thalmann then called for backup, prompting three more officers to arrive at the scene.
Officer Thalmann told Stallings he would pat down and search him. Stallings initially objected and became "verbally agitated," but soon voluntarily gave his backpack to one of the responding officers, states Thomas' report.
After giving up his backpack, Stallings ran away on foot from the officers, says Thomas. Thalmann and two other officers, Justin R. Wester and Adam Sneeden, then gave chase. Thalmann was in the lead.
The officers told Stallings to stop, but he ignored them, Thomas says.
--MARCH 28, 11:51:09 P.M.
Officer Wester lost sight of Stallings during the chase. But Officer Thalmann continued to close in on Stallings, according to Thoma's report. At about 11:51 p.m., after Stallings crossed Oak Street with Thalmann less than 10 feet behind, Stallings turned around and fired one shot at Thalmann. The bullet hit Thalmann in the left side of his face and traveled to his head and neck, says Thomas.
Thalmann immediately fell to the ground and Stallings continued to run away, according to Thoma's report. (Thalmann died a few days later, on March 31.)
The SBI's findings show Thalmann never drew his weapon from his holster and never used force against Stallings, says Thomas.
--MARCH 28, 11:51:24 P.M.
Upon seeing Thalmann lying on his back with his eyes closed, Officer Wester ran up to his colleague. As the other officers came to assist, Wester continued pursuing Stallings on Oak Street. Wester ordered Stallings to drop his weapon, but Stallings did not comply, states Thomas in his report.
--MARCH 28, 11:51:32 P.M.
As Stallings continued to run, he turned and fired two shots at Officer Wester, one of which hit Wester in the upper right thigh, Thomas says. Wester returned fire at Stallings, shooting 13 times. Three shots hit Stallings-- two in the posterior side of his torso and one in the head. Stallings fell to the ground near the "V" building of Craven Terrace and died at the scene, says Thomas.
The SBI estimates that the chase spanned about a quarter of a mile.
Officers Wester and Thalmann were taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center. Thalmann was then transferred to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he died on March 31. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, Thomas says.
Wester, 23, who was treated and released on March 29, said Stallings never tried to stop or drop his weapon, and Wester was in fear for his life.
According to Thomas, the nurse who examined Stallings' body found a string tied to Stallings' belt, from which hung a small bag containing 28 grams of marijuana and 2 grams of crack cocaine. Stallings' backpack also had plastic bags commonly used for packaging illegal drugs, Thomas says.
Stalling's gun used to kill Officer Thalmann was stolen in July 22, 2013, according to records. Stallings had an extensive criminal record, mostly from out of state, and was a registered sex offender.
--DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S RULING
Based on the SBI report, Thomas says Thalmann's actions were appropriate and that the police chase was justified and required.
Thomas also says the use of lethal force by Officer Wester was justified as well, and no charges will be filed against him.
Had Stallings lived, he would have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, two counts of assault with a firearm on a law enforcement, plus a slew of drug-related and other charges., according to Thomas.
Police Chief Toussaint Summers says Thalman had only been with the New Bern Police Department for seven months. He was a graduate of Washington High School and had served in the Marine Corps.
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