By Sue Book
NEW BERN, N.C. — For a second day Sunday, off-duty New Bern police officers stood vigil at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville for fellow Officer Alexander E. Thalmann, who was shot in the line of duty Friday night.
Thalmann, 22, who has been with the department since August 2013, was shot in his face after he attempted to stop Bryant Augustus Stallings, 35, for questioning near Craven Terrace at about 11:45 p.m. Friday.
Fellow Officer Justin Wester, 23, who has been with the New Bern police since November 2012, answered Thalmann's call for backup. He was shot in the leg by Stallings and returned fire, killing him.
Wester also was treated at Vidant early Saturday for his gunshot wound and released.
Thalmann was reported as breathing on his own with stable vital signs Saturday afternoon, but it was clear from evidence of defibrillator use at the scene and guarded comments by all connected that his condition is critical. He remains in intensive care and is on a respirator.
New official information on his condition could not be obtained from Vidant or from city officials Sunday, although New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw and several Board of Aldermen members indicated they awaited an email on Thalmann's condition.
The mayor urged all to keep Thalmann in their prayers, as did New Bern Police Chief Toussaint E. Summers Jr. Saturday as he ended a news conference in Greenville, where those close say he has remained.
Outlaw called an emergency meeting of the board at noon Saturday for an official report on the incident and for the board to authorize acting City Manager Mark Stephens to support the officers during this difficult time and to provide accommodations for their families to be close by.
Thalmann is reportedly from nearby Washington, where he lives with his mother. Wester is from Rocky Mount, where his father has also been in law enforcement.
At a 3 p.m. Saturday press conference held by city officials at the Greenville Police Department, Summers released the wounded officers' names and read a statement from District Attorney Scott Thomas reiterating much of what he said earlier in the day, including that as a matter of standard procedure, investigation of the officer-involved shooting incident has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation.
Thomas and New Bern police, including the chief, were at the incident scene with the SBI until 5 a.m. Saturday. Thomas said, "I have nothing at this point to indicate that it was not justified."
A relative and friend said Stallings, who had been in prison and vowed never to return, was walking Friday night with someone who had warrants out against him and who disappeared from the scene.
Summers said at the news conference that Stallings was stopped because of suspicious behavior.
Thomas said, "Stallings has a brush with the law but he is not in the system now."
Records indicate he served time for convictions on charges including drug possession, larceny and resisting an officer.
Questions raised by relatives and community members about why Stallings was stopped and circumstances surrounding the shootings are likely to be addressed by the SBI report, which is expected in about two weeks.
Stallings' address was listed as 500 Old Pollocksville Road when police released his name about 10 p.m. Saturday.
Police said they had attempted to notify his family and apparently have. A funeral is being arranged by Oscar's Mortuary, Inc., with details to be announced later.
Copyright 2014 the Sun Journal
McClatchy-Tribune News Service