Deputy shoots and kills Charlotte man who had a knife at crash scene, NC sheriff says

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A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a Charlotte man who had a knife when he confronted firefighters, EMS responders and then the officer at a single-car crash scene Thursday night, authorities said.

Steven Ray Johnson, a 46-year-old who also lived in Salisbury, died after the deputy shot him with his issued sidearm, according to a Rowan County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Sheriff’s officials haven’t released the deputy’s name or further details about the confrontation in the 200 block of Rock Springs Drive, off Woodleaf Road northwest of Salisbury.

Firefighters and EMS workers responded to a 911 call about possible injuries after a vehicle hit a tree about 8:40 p.m., sheriff’s investigators said. After the man confronted them, the responders immediately requested sheriff’s investigators be dispatched to the scene, the sheriff’s office reported.

“Fire and EMS units moved back and staged till the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office could arrive on the scene,” according to the sheriff’s office news release “Multiple RCSO units were dispatched to the incident.”

The deputy who shot Johnson arrived just before 9 p.m., and the confrontation was captured on the officer’s body camera video, sheriff’s officials said.

“A preliminary review by the RCSO shows that the shooting was justified and that the deputy was acting in accordance with his use of force training and within the laws of the state of North Carolina,” sheriff’s officials said in the release.

The deputy was placed on administrative duties pending an internal investigation, the sheriff’s office said. Sheriff’s officials said they referred the case to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for further investigation, as they do whenever an officer shoots someone.

Sheriff’s investigators “had no previous interaction with Johnson,” according to the release.

In 2013, Johnson was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison after being convicted in Mecklenburg County of felony death by vehicle, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. He was released in 2019, investigators said.

This is a developing story.