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Report justifies fatal shooting of man by New Bern officers

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NEW BERN, N.C. - There’s new information in the shooting death of a New Bern police officer.

The State Bureau of Investigation released its official report Thursday afternoon.
35-year-old Bryan Stallings shot and killed 22-year-old Officer Alexander Thalmann on March 28th after a foot chase.
It happened at the Craven Terrace housing complex in New Bern.

Back up arrived.

Officer Justin Wester also joined the chase, with Stallings firing at him as well.
Officer Wester fired several times, ultimately killing Stallings.
These are the facts laid out in the 13 page report, presented at a press conference today.

The report doesn't make the events that took place any less tragic, but it does provide some type of closure to the community and families involved.

Today, District Attorney Scott Thomas addressed members of the media, providing the conclusions from an investigation that spanned more than a month.

"Officer Alexander Thalmann's actions and conduct were appropriate and lawful at all times," said Scott Thomas, District Attorney.

The report shows that the suspect, Bryan Stallings, was originally stopped because he didn't have the proper lights on his bike, but then, things escalated quickly.

"Upon contact with Stallings, he immediately detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from Stallings," said Thalmann.

Officer Thalmann called for back-up, and when Stallings voluntarily provided the officers with his backpack, which contained large amounts of marijuana and crack cocaine, he took off running. Stallings' autopsy showed he had a string inside his pants tied with baggies of marijuana and crack.

The chase covered about a quarter of a mile, eventually leading to the Oak Street area.

"At that time Stallings pulled a pistol that he had concealed on his person, turned around and shot Officer Thalmann in the face," explained Thomas.

Stalling continued to run, firing two shots at Officer Wester, who returned fire 13 times, hitting Stallings three times; twice in the torso and once in the head.

9 On Your Side went to the area where it all took place and was directed to a house that one person said belonged to Stallings’ grandmother. But there was no answer.

The district attorney said he hoped the report would provide those involved with some answers, including the family of Stallings.

"We realize that this tragic events were beyond your control and we wish you peace and healing," said Thomas.

The district attorney said Officer Wester has been working in administrative duties during the investigation. He also said he would be meeting with the Stallings family to answer any of their questions.

Stallings was no stranger to law enforcement, with a criminal history dating back almost 20 years.

The SBI report shows Stallings had his first run in with the law back in 1996 when he was just 16 years old, arrested for disorderly conduct.
The next year, he was convicted of drug possession and resisting an officer.
Stallings also has a criminal past in Florida in 2002 he became a registered sex offender, after a charge of lewd conduct with a victim under 16.
He also spent time in jail for carrying a concealed weapon and drug charges.
And in September of 2008, police arrested Stallings for trespassing at Craven Terrace, where he was already banned. He was charged with resisting an officer in that case as well, with an outstanding warrant.
That landed him back in prison. He got out in 2012.

New Bern Police Chief Toussaint E. Summers, Jr. released the following statement to 9 On Your Side concerning the report:

    "Officers Thalmann and Wester were doing their job, protecting and serving their community on the day of this event as they had every other day. This event serves as a vivid reminder of the costs involved in maintaining a safe community. New Bern lost a police officer and a friend on March 31, 2014, when Officer Alexander Thalmann was suddenly taken from us. The police department and the community still mourn the loss of our comrade and friend. 

    We encourage the public to work with us to keep our community safe. Only through a strong partnership between residents, businesses, and the law enforcement community, can we strive to ensure this doesn't have to happen again."

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