The district attorney says a police shooting that left one officer dead as well as the suspect was justified.
Craven County D.A. Scott Thomas made that ruling this afternoon after reviewing the SBI investigation into the shootings.
Killed in the March 28th shootings at Craven Terrace was Officer Alex Thalmann and 35-year-old Bryan Stallings of New Bern. Officer Justin Wester was wounded.
Thomas says Officer Thalmann stopped a man riding a bicycle without lights in the area of Craven Terrace around 11:45 p.m. He said Thalmann called for backup, and Officer Wester and another officers arrived.
Thomas says Thalmann smelled a strong odor of marijuana from the suspect, As officers questioned Stallings, the man bolted and the officers chased him.
The SBI report says Thalmann gained ground on Stallings, and the suspect pulled out a pistol and shot the officer in the face.
As other officers aided the down officer, Officer Wester continued to chase Stallings, according to the report. It says says Stallings fired two shots at Wester, hitting him once in the right leg. The officer then fired 13 shots at the man, striking Stallings in the head and twice in the torso.
Stallings died at the scene, while Officer Thalmann died two days later at Vidant Medical Center.
Thomas says surveillance video from the housing authority shows the actual shooting which he has reviewed. Found on the body of Stallings was a string tied to his belt that had a small cloth bag attached. Inside that bag authorities found 28 grams of marijuana and two grams of crack cocaine, according to the SBI.
The report says the weapon used by Stallings, a 9mm semi-automatic, was stolen back in July 2013.
Thomas says Officer Thalmann's original stop of the man was appropriate and lawful, while the police pursuit was justified and mandated by the circumstances.
The D.A. says Stallings was not justified in shooting the officers, while Officer Wester's shooting of the man was a justified use of lethal force.
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