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Names released in officer-involved shooting death

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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, July 11, 2019

An officer involved in a fatal shooting of a break-in suspect on Tuesday has been on the job for a year and half with the Greenville Police Department and has prior experience as a corrections officer.

The department on Thursday identified David Johnson, 30, as the officer who shot and killed the suspect during what police called a violent struggle. The shooting occurred about 4 a.m. in a roadway in the Cobblestone neighborhood off of Allen Road.

Sean Rambert, 23, was identified by the department as the suspect. Police said Tuesday Johnson encountered him on Brookville Drive while responding to a call about an intruder in a home in the 2200 block of the street.

The State Bureau of Investigation is now reviewing the shooting and has released no information about the incident beyond what the police department reported Tuesday morning.

Officer Johnson joined the Greenville department in January 2018 and has prior experience as a corrections officer, spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said. He suffered several injuries resulting from the fight but has been released from Vidant Medical Center.

He’s on administrative assignment pending the outcome of the SBI review, which is standard protocol, Hunter said.

The department responded to the neighborhood after emergency dispatchers received a call about a man breaking through a door into a home occupied by a man and woman. Several neighbors interviewed Tuesday said a man with a gun was trying to enter multiple homes on the street.

Greenville Chief Mark Holtzman said Tuesday that Johnson gave verbal commands to Rambert but Rambert did not comply. Johnson pulled his gun during the struggle and fired multiple shots, Holtzman said.

Officers put Rambert in handcuffs after the shooting and attempted life-saving measures until Greenville Fire-Rescue arrived. Emergency medical personnel treated Rambert at the scene but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The state medical examiner's office said Thursday that Rambert died of multiple gunshots to his torso.

Rambert's family and friends held a memorial for him on North Greene Street on Wednesday. A relative told WITN News that he was mentally ill. Family on Thursday declined further comment with The Daily Reflector.

Hunter said Johnson and other officers who responded to the scene were trained in crisis intervention.

"I am only able to answer these questions as they pertain to the officer, not the incident itself," she said. "The remaining questions are all part of the SBI’s investigation."

She said officers made notification to the Rambert family about the death on Tuesday and assigned a department liaison to the family.

The Daily Reflector sought further information about the incident the State Bureau of Investigation, including whether Rambert was armed and if body camera video was reviewed.

"There’s usually not a lot of information we can share because they (agents) don’t want to put too much information out there and taint the investigation," SBI spokeswoman Anjanette Grube said.

"Being that we’re the investigative agency, not the parties involved in the actual incident, they’re just there to do the investigation and figure out what did happen, and that means talking to everybody who was there for it, who were part of the incident, and those who may have witnessed it ... so it’s a lot of moving parts behind the scenes with getting in touch with all those folks."

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