FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina man grieving the death of his granddaughter is demanding the arrest of a Fayetteville police officer.
This comes after an officer shot and killed Rick Iwanski’s granddaughter, 22-year-old Jada Johnson.
Iwanski called the killing “egregious” and said he “would like to see justice for her.”
“I think that the officer who killed her should go to jail,” Iwanski said.
The shooting happened at Iwanski’s home in Fayetteville just before 10 p.m. Friday when officers were responding to a call about a break-in at the home.
Iwanski said his granddaughter suffered from mental illness and was convinced her boyfriend was trying to get inside and kill her. He said he explained the situation to officers, but things escalated.
“She thought they (the boyfriend) was here to kill her and they (the police) end(ed) up murdering her right in front of us,” Iwanski said.
At some point before the Fayetteville officer shot Johnson, she pulled a gun and threatened to commit suicide, according to police.
“The officers were not threatened verbally. Yeah, there was a gun, but it was down,” the grandfather said.
Iwanski said one officer tackled Johnson to the ground and another shot her multiple times in front of him, her grandmother and her 2-year-old daughter.
He said there was an opportunity for officers to stop the situation without deadly force.
“When she put the gun down, they should have tased her, bean-bagged her, took her down then. Why didn’t they do it then?” Iwanski asked.
Fayetteville police told WNCN that they tried to persuade Johnson to surrender the weapon.
“For over an hour the officers pled with this young lady, tried to get this young lady to put this weapon down. Tried to get the help that she wanted,” Assistant Chief James Nolette with the Fayetteville Police Department said.
Police have since turned the case over to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The officer who was allegedly involved has not been identified and remains on administrative duty.
“The SBI investigation remains ongoing. We don’t have any additional details to provide,” said an NCSBI statement to WNCN.
Iwanski said he believes this could have been avoided if the officers had resources or were trained in dealing with mental illness.