Police said a man who was fatally shot by an officer in a Lenoir Walmart on Tuesday had pulled a .38 caliber revolver from his waist band and fired at least one shot at them.
Carl Marcus Nivens, 32, of Lenoir, ran from officers as they tried to question him about a possible vehicle break-in outside the store, Lenoir Police Chief Scott Brown said in a statement. The store is in the 900 block of Blowing Rock Boulevard.
The incident happened shortly before 8:30 a.m.
One officer chased Nivens while another positioned at the entrance-exit near where Nivens was running from police, Brown said.
As he neared the exit, Nivens pulled out the gun and fired it toward police, according to the chief’s statement.
“The Officer giving chase was physically struggling with Nivens during this time trying to stop him,” Brown said. “The Officer staged at the entrance returned fire and struck Nivens. Nivens was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Other than minor injuries from the struggle with Nivens, no officers were hurt and no other injuries were reported, Brown said.
At the request of the Lenoir Police Department, the State Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation into the shooting. Per Lenoir Police Department policy, four officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave pending a review of preliminary findings.
The officers were equipped with body cameras. “The video and audio from these systems along with the surveillance video from Walmart confirm the evidence at the scene and paint a clear picture of what occurred,” Brown said.
Police are not releasing the video to the media “at this time,” Brown said.
On Wednesday afternoon, police released three photos from Walmart surveillance cameras. “The weapon is clearly visible in the photos,” Brown said of Nivens’ gun, which was reported stolen from Burke County on Saturday. “The exterior view shows Nivens turning and firing at Officers.”
Police questioned two other suspects at Walmart about the vehicle break-in and arrested them on unrelated outstanding warrants from Burke County
Warrants charge Natasha Rae Stanley, 24, of Morganton, with failure to appear on nonsupport and Jose Alberto Flores, 32, of Rhodhiss, with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. More charges are expected against them soon, Brown said.
Anyone with information about the officer-involved shooting should call the State Bureau of Investigation at 828-294-2226, the Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100 or, to anonymously report to Lenoir/Caldwell County Crimestoppers, 828-758-8300.