DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Manslaughter Suspect Hit Victim Two Or Three Times

A district attorney says they have evidence that shows a suspect struck a man two or three times before the victim fell into the water and died.

Morehead City Police Chief Wrenn Johnson says 23-year-old Stephen Gomola of Morehead City has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old Stephen Johnson of Dunn.

Dive teams recovered Johnson's body in the water outside Jack's Waterfront Bar.

Authorities say he died from injuries following an altercation the night of July 4th.

D.A. Scott Thomas says based on surveillance video and interviews, they say Gormola hit Johnson two or three times before the man fell into the water. Thomas says it doesn't seem like the two knew each other, that they just happened to be at the same place.

Gormola went before a District Court judge this morning for his first court appearance. He remains jailed on a $25,000 bond and has his next court date on August 2nd.

Previous Story

Morehead City police said they got a call around midnight of a man's body discovered near a local bar as 4th of July festivities continued along the Crystal Coast.

Morehead City Police say that person is identified as 23-year-old Stephen Johnson of Dunn who died from injuries sustained following an altercation.

Police say they have spent the night and day interviewing about 30 people so far and have more people to talk with.

Police would not term what happened a fight, but say there was clearly an altercation that took place outside before Johnson ended up in the water outside Jack's Waterfront Bar.

Dive teams recovered Johnson's body.

Witnesses tell WITN several people dove in the water to try and locate Johnson before EMS & Rescue officials arrived but could not find him.

Police also say they are interviewing several people who may have been involved in the incident.