Former Co-Workers Speak About Robbery Suspect Shot, Killed By Officer

The investigation continues into the death of a robbery suspect shot and killed by a Greenville police officer Thursday. Police say he had just robbed a pharmacy at gunpoint. We spoke with John Wainwright's former coworkers who are mourning his loss.

Wainwright of Farmville used to work at the Brown & Wood Body. Employees there say Wainwright used to be an assistant manager until he resigned 5 or 6 months ago. They say they never expected anything like this to happen to someone they considered a close friend.

Those who worked with Wainwright at the body shop say they never thought he had a prescription drug habit, and say what happened was out of character for him.

"Good guy, all around good guy - couldn't ask for a better person," said Jessica King.

"He was pretty much a friend to everybody and this is one of those things where nobody I know that knows him has put together how this happened," said Adam Jones.

Greenville police say Wainwright robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy on the corner of Moye and Stantonsburg Thursday afternoon. Just after the armed robbery, officers pulled Wainwright over in the ECU Nuerosurgical and Spine Associates parking lot. They say he was on the ground, but then jumped up and tried to get back into his truck. Police say there was a gun inside the truck, and corporal Scott Johnson shot and killed Wainwright. Adam Jones says he wishes the situation wouldn't have ended this way.

"John deserved to be held at gunpoint. He deserved to go to prison if that's what he'd done, but I think under the circumstances it could have been handled a little differently, and had he gone for his truck knowing there was a gun in there maybe he cops did the right thing. The question is: why did he get the opportunity to go for his truck when they had him on the ground for so long?" said Jones.

Greenville police Sergeant Carlton Williams says the police can't issue a comment right now because the SBI is investigating.

Jones and King say the entire situation is shocking, especially because Wainwright was engaged to be married and they were part of his wedding party.

"I really, really hurt for his family right now. I know we were supposed to be in his wedding in the next couple weeks, so I feel for them. My heart goes out to them," said King.

Police say Corporal Scott Johnson is on paid administrative leave right now which is standard procedure in all officer-involved shootings.

PREVIOUS STORY:
A man is dead after police say he robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy for prescription drugs Thursday afternoon in Greenville.

It all happened around 2:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon on the corner of Stantonsburg Road and Arlington Boulevard. John Wainwright of Farmville was driving a black pick up truck when police say he robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy for prescription drugs on the corner of Moye and Stantonsburg Thursday at 2:14. One minute later at 2:15 a Greenville officer pulled Wainwright over in the ECU Neurosurgical parking lot and that's where things turned deadly.

According to police, Wainwright tried to get back in his truck after officers had him on the ground. That's when Officer Scott Johnson fired shots killing Wainwright. It's what Greenville police say they are trained to do.

"We're trained to fire until the threat stops whether that be two three or four times. That's not unusual at all," said Greenville Deputy Police Chief Joe Bartlett.

The SBI is investigating like they do for all officer involved shootings.



PREVIOUS STORY:

Greenville police say an armed robbery suspect shot by one of their officers has died.

The body of John Wainwright was taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital following the shooting where they say he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The 36-year-old Farmville man was a suspect in the armed robbery of the Rite Aid Pharmacy on Stantonsburg Road and Moye Boulevard. Police say an officer saw his GMC Sierra pickup truck about a block away.

Deputy Chief Joe Bartlett says officers stopped the truck in the parking lot of ECU Neurosurgical and Spine Center, which is across the street from Pitt County Memorial Hospital.

Bartlett says officers were performing a high risk traffic stop, Wainwright was down on the ground and then got back up and lunged toward the door. Police say there was a gun inside the pickup truck. Bartlett says Corporal Scott Johnson then shot Wainwright.

Johnson has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer involved shootings.

Police say narcotics, including Oxycontin, were taken in the pharmacy holdup.

Greenville police have asked the SBI to investigate the shooting.


Previous Story

Witnesses say an armed robbery suspect was shot by Greenville police officers after being stopped in a medical complex parking lot.

Sgt. Carlton Williams says there was an armed robbery at the Rite Aid Pharmacy at Moye Boulevard and Stantonsburg Road and police were given a suspect vehicle description.

Williams says that vehicle pulled into the parking lot of ECU Neurosurgical and Spine Center, which is across the street from Pitt County Memorial Hospital.

Police say shots were fired and the suspect taken to PCMH. When a WITN reporter got to the scene what appeared to be a lifeless body was on the ground and police placed a covering over the person's head.

Police say at 2:14 p.m. they received the armed robbery call, and then a minute later an officer reported he was behind the vehicle which was a black GMC Sierra pickup truck.

A man who says he saw the shooting spoke with WITN shortly afterward. He told us he saw the man on the ground for several minutes with two police officers pointing guns at him.

When more officers arrived, the man tried to run to his vehicle. The witness said that's when officers shot the suspect.

Police have marked four locations on the ground, which usually signify bullet casings at crime scenes. They were all next to the driver's side window.

SBI agents have also arrived at the scene and Greenville police say they will hold a news conference at 5:30 p.m. at the police department.

ECU Spokesman Doug Boyd says two of their employees actually saw the shooting, while appointments at the medical complex were cancelled for the rest of the day.

No one else was injured.


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