11/28/2007

Man arrested two months after shooting N.C. officer

By Stanley B. Chambers Jr.
The News & Observer
Related:  N.C. officer shot stopping a burglary in progress

DURHAM, N.C. Kevin Burnett Johnson, accused of shooting a Durham police officer in September, was on the run for nearly two months until Tuesday, when local and federal officials apprehended him at a Chapel Hill home.

Johnson, 24, of Concord Street in Durham was taken into custody without incident on Windsor Circle in Chapel Hill. He and another man already in custody, David Wendale Williams, 22, of Normandy Street are charged with second-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm. Both remained at the Durham County jail Tuesday.

Officer D. B. Vereen and others answered a call about a break-in at 1410-A Cherrycrest Drive on Sept. 23. Vereen waited for backup before entering the residence, where he was met with gunfire. Vereen returned fire. As he tried to get back outside, he was struck in the back and left arm. His bulletproof vest prevented further injury. A .357 revolver and spent bullets were recovered at the scene. Vereen was treated and released from the hospital and is back at work.

Williams was arrested Sept. 28 in Burlington after a 90-minute standoff that ended with Burlington SWAT officers using tear gas to drive him out of a house.

Williams has convictions for resisting arrest and speeding infractions. Johnson's criminal history includes convictions for carrying a concealed weapon, possession of stolen goods, drug possession and resisting arrest. He served a year in prison for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in 2003. He has has faced multiple charges of firing bullets into buildings, drug trafficking and assault.

Manhunts are referred to the U.S. Marshals task force when violent individuals are being sought. These task forces often consist of officers from local departments. The task force that covers the middle part of the state, which has sought Johnson since Oct. 1, includes Durham officers.

"This guy is apparently a dangerous individual, and we wanted to find him as quickly as possible," said Harlon Costner, U.S. marshal for the middle district of North Carolina. "It took longer than I liked."

Copyright 2007 The News & Observer

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