One person dead in officer-involved shooting on Rock Spring Road

Published 10:32 pm Thursday, June 23, 2022

By Elisabeth Strillacci

SALISBURY — One man is dead following a confrontation with firefighters, EMS and Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies just before 9 p.m. Thursday.

Deputies say Steven Ray Johnson, 46, a resident of Charlotte and Salisbury, confronted public safety personnel after his car hit a tree.

According to reports, at about 8:37 p.m., the Rowan County 911 Center received a call of a single vehicle accident at 230 Rock Springs Dr. in Salisbury. The caller said a car had struck a tree, and that there could be possible injuries. Fire and EMS units responded, and the N.C. State Highway Patrol was notified.

When fire and EMS personnel arrived on the scene at about 8:50 p.m., Johnson confronted them with a knife. Fire and EMS units moved back and staged, having requested assistance from the sheriff’s office.

Multiple deputies were dispatched, and the first deputy to arrive at about 8:57 p.m. was also threatened by Johnson, still holding the knife. The deputy fired at the suspect, killing him.

“We have body camera video of the incident, which we’ve reviewed, and we believe it to be a justified shooting,” said Chief Rowan County Deputy David Ramsey. “The deputy was acting in accordance with his use of force training and within the laws of the state of North Carolina.”

He said investigation of the officer-involved shooting has been turned over to North Carolina SBI as is protocol, and the deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Johnson has a previous conviction in Mecklenburg County for felony death by vehicle. He was convicted on Oct. 16, 2013, and received a sentence of eight years and three months. He was released from the North Carolina Department of Corrections on Sept. 17, 2019.