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.

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.


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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by 250 Location: Jax on May 1, 2011 at 03:46 PM
    Suck it up already and move on. I don't care if he was Honor Roll with straight A's or on the Deans List at his college. Like my buddy Baretta used to say. "don't do the crime if you can't do the time". It's is done. His error. oh well. Oopps. I trust the officer is sleeping well.
  • by Alex Location: ENC on May 1, 2011 at 05:49 AM
    Are you still talking about this? The man did the deed, got caught, shot, and now laid to rest. If he was innocent, none of this would have occurred.
    • reply
      by tom on May 1, 2011 at 02:00 PM in reply to Alex
      well said alex, if i go stick my hand in a fire i will more than likely get burned
  • by Daniel Location: Farmville on Apr 30, 2011 at 09:14 AM
    Lets look at it like this, Say we have kids, They have Never been in trouble before. As being parents we were blind in the fact that something was wrong. Then one day we get a call telling us that our Kid had just robbed the liquor store at gunpoint. Nobody was hurt but the police killed our kid because they thought he was dangerous. How would you feel then as a parent. Thats how John's family is feeling right now. Nobody is saying what John did was acceptable. Just saying did he deserve to die......
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 30, 2011 at 08:15 PM in reply to Daniel
      You are missing the point, he was not shot and kijjed by police as punishment forthe crime he committed. He was shot and killed because he was viewed by the officers as being a threat. Thats is not only what they are trained to do, but it is survival instinct as well. Had Mr. Wainwright complied and not tried to go back into his truck where his weapon was at than he most certainly would be alive right now. We all have choices. The officers are not to blame for this outcome.
      • reply
        by tom on May 1, 2011 at 01:52 PM in reply to
        i think you are so right agree with you 100%
    • reply
      by anon on May 1, 2011 at 05:10 AM in reply to Daniel
      could have; should have; might have;if have. none of that means anything now. but while you seem to be wanting to be a monday morning quarter back; copy what you wrote down and carry it to your local police chief (Donnie Greene) and see what he has to say. also what was done was by the book according to the training, and the law; so if you do not like that;since you are a Farmville resident, Walter Jones Jr. lives about two blocks from the Methodist church; give him a visit and see what he says about changing the law! personally a 45 is like getting hit with a brick in comparison to a small pebble; so yeah i would have most likely shattered the guys leg; so as while he spent the rest of his life in prison he would have remembered the one time lesson of not having the right to risk other peoples life. also if someone would have told that boy one week prior that if he did not stop with the pills that he would die in a hail of gunfire he would have said you had lost your mind. those cops did what they are paid to do; if you dont like it; you pay them 8 cents on every dollar you spend as a taxpayer; contact your congressman. did the ladys/men at the rite-aid deserve to have a gun stuck to their heads? huh? im just sayin! he got what he got; im sorry for his family; maybe they can start a support group for familys noticing warning signs or something; but bottom line; he could have stayed hoome and had a V8!
  • by Anonymous on Apr 28, 2011 at 06:09 PM
    I work at night as most people do. I never see any cops around. So if I am about to get assaulted than I would have to fight myself. Why do you people hold cops at such high standards? I have never called a cop for any assistance. And if I need assistance I would be in trouble if I had to rely any one of these things around here. You people are brainwashed and you really make me laugh. Cops are only cops because they can bully people and make the little money they are making.
  • by BIG FAN Location: Brainwash on Apr 28, 2011 at 03:10 PM
    Over the 8 year span that GWB was in office he depleted the $500 Billion surplus that the Clinton Admin. managed to accumulate. Bush had the WTC towers destroyed so that it would take all of our minds off the botched recount that was held in florida, by his cousin Jedd, 10 months prior to the Bush terrorist attack. Believe it or Not! Over the next 8 years he controlled the US population with fear, "winning" the hearts of brainwashed citizens. In that time Haliburton (Dick Cheneys Cash Funneling Corporation) charged the US tax payers $35 for every styrofoam plate that our soldiers were putting food upon. Sound like a great Vice president aye? Oh GWB had his hand in our pockets too.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 28, 2011 at 08:03 PM in reply to BIG FAN
      dont forget about charging the soldiers to do laundry , the list goes on
  • by jim Location: sneads ferry on Apr 28, 2011 at 01:21 PM
    When there is certain reason to use deadly force. No warning shots. Take dead aim and empty your clip
  • by MCTP Location: M C on Apr 27, 2011 at 11:26 AM
    If he robbed once then he might would have done it repeatedly until he killed someone. Folks quite armchair quarterbacking this. You were not there so you dont know. The officer did what he had to do to protect other and himself. If we could download that officers brain and thought process onto a printed page, I bet you would see that the officer never wanted to shoot in the first place. Now he has to live with this and the scrutiny of all the people that dont know squat about the law mush less the "use of force laws" in NC. Wake up folks and start supporting the people(Law enforcement Officers) that protect and serve and ride by your house at all hours of the night. Or the officers who will and have stood between the bad guy and you and you were protected but yet you never even knew it. If we had a week without L E in the US then people would be screaming for L E back and be willing to give them a pay raise..
  • by Jedi Knight Location: Tattooine on Apr 27, 2011 at 11:14 AM
    Once again I am called upon to post. I am sorry I was not at the location in question. With my Jedi powers I could have read the mind of the suspect and known for sure if he was going in the truck to get a weapon or not. I could have moved in alone to handcuff him with no fear that he might stand and overpower me, reach under his shirt and grab a knife or gun that I did not see...but I was not there. So I guess we have to continue to depend on brave non-Jedi Knights...who cannot read minds and must believe that an ARMED ROBBER should remain on the ground until backup shows up...and if the ARMED ROBBER lunges for something, it is ok to assume its a weapon. Thank you Cpl, for your brave service...Until we have Jedi Knights on the beat, I guess we will just have to rely on you..
  • by THEVOICEOFREASON Location: Carolina on Apr 26, 2011 at 08:03 PM
    To the brillant people who have never had to touch anyone for any reason shut up ! When LE is called they never know if there gonna make it home . So as most of you go to work (hopefully you have jobs) and return home everyday your biggest concern is not burning dinner. Its not something anyone wants to do but thats an unpredictable job and things like this happen. He robbed a drug store at gun point morons and got killed . Maybe he should have thought about what might happen from his actions. Law Enforcement did their job by protecting us and theirselves.
    • reply
      by MCTP on Apr 27, 2011 at 11:35 AM in reply to THEVOICEOFREASON
      Well said!
  • by me Location: greenville on Apr 26, 2011 at 01:36 AM
    a job well done...., at least we don't have to support him in jail....I just pray that this does not have a long term effect on the officers. God Bless you and you are in my prayers. You are a hero, because alot of people could have been hurt if he had gotten to his gun. That is a busy road.

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