DURHAM: 1 critically injured in officer-involved shooting - WNCN: News, Weather

Durham police: Suspect shot in head after refusing to put down gun

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Police say a suspect is being treated for life-threatening injuries after a Durham police officer shot the man in his head when he refused to put down his gun early Wednesday morning.

Officers were dispatched to the 1500 block of Mathison Street around 2:17 a.m. in response to a disturbance involving a gun. Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said a caller claimed that two people with a child were being shot at.

When officers arrived, Lopez said they located a man carrying a rifle standing in the doorway, at which point Officer Brian K. Johnson commanded the man to drop his gun.

Once he realized the suspect did not speak English, Johnson demanded in Spanish that the man put down the gun. But when the suspect did not obey his commands, Lopez said Johnson shot the suspect in the head.

Lopez said it appears Johnson shot him one time.

The suspect, whose identity has not been released, is being treated at at Duke University Hospital for life-threatening injuries.

Lopez said the incident is still under investigation to determine if Johnson followed all policies and training.

"Nothing has been brought to my attention that would lead to me to have any concerns at this point in time," Lopez said Wednesday.

Johnson, who's been with the department since November 2003, has been place on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Durham Police Department spokeswoman Kammie Michael said the incident is the first officer-involved shooting of the year involving the police department. It comes after Lopez made changes within the department amid controversy surrounding officer-involved shootings last year.

"Every year -- not only in our profession, but every profession -- you have updates. ... Things that you learn," Lopez said. "We train those and keep them updated."

The city manager is reviewing more than 40 possible changes.

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