In dozens of videos between five and 30 seconds long, Rick Iwanski’s doorbell camera captured the moments surrounding the fatal shooting of his granddaughter by a Fayetteville police officer last week.
Iwanski’s granddaughter, Jada Johnson, 22, was killed July 1 in Iwanski’s Colgate Drive home. He and his wife, Maria Iwanski, say Johnson was experiencing a mental health crisis and never posed a threat to officers after she pulled a gun and threatened to kill herself. Johnson had requested her grandmother call 911 around 9:41 pm that night, fearing her abusive boyfriend and his friends were attempting to break into Rick Iwanski’s home, according to an official. In the week before her killing, Johnson had been admitted to the hospital for a “mental break,” her family said.
The 196 clips of footage provided by Iwanski to The Fayetteville Observer begin with officers arriving at Iwanski’s single-family home in a quiet residential neighborhood between Owen and Village drives. The clips were recorded by a Blink doorbell camera, a second camera pointing toward the driveway, a third one on the side of the house, and a fourth showing the backyard.
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‘I’m gonna stick around’
In the very first clip, three officers approach the door and knock, announcing they’re with the Fayetteville Police Department. After a delay, Rick Iwanski is seen coming outside and speaking to an officer. Shortly afterwards, Maria joins them. All three officers go inside to speak with Johnson. Four minutes later, a sergeant enters, his rank evident on his sleeve.
About 40 minutes after police first arrived, the sergeant and an officer can be seen talking in the front yard. Johnson is captured in the footage when she opens the door to ask if they are having a private conversation.
“Yes ma’am, yes ma’am,” the sergeant replied.
In a clip about 90 seconds later, Johnson appears again, telling them to step away from the doorbell camera if the conversation is private. The sergeant and officer are in the front yard for about 10 minutes.
At one point the officer said to the sergeant, “I’m gonna stick around just in case she ain’t bull——-.”
The sergeant seems to agree, and the officer states there’s a dark spot up the road, suggesting he was going to park his patrol car there.
Shortly after the two men return inside the house, two female officers leave.
The next video captured by the doorbell camera comes about 30 minutes later.
Two firefighters are seen on the doorstep, one of whom is peering through a window next to the front door. At about the same time, the driveway camera records paramedics waiting there with a stretcher. An ambulance can be seen parked in the street in front of the house.
For at least six minutes the cameras record the paramedics milling about the yard, apparently waiting for instruction until they eventually leave.
It was after the ambulance leaves, Rick Iwanski said in an interview earlier this week, that his granddaughter began to believe the officers had been sent by her boyfriend to kill her.
According to police and the Iwanskis, when the sergeant and officer returned inside, Johnson pulled out a gun. Iwanski said his granddaughter pointed the gun at her head and asked officers to bring out her grandmother and 2-year-old daughter but never pointed the gun at anyone else.
Assistant Police Chief James Nolette said in a 1 am news conference that appeared to have been for the benefit of one person from the media hours after the killing, that Johnson’s actions put officers, her grandmother and daughter “in harm’s way.” The Police Department sent out a video of Nolette’s statements.
Twelve minutes after the paramedics leave, the doorbell camera is triggered again.
A patrol car is seen speeding to a halt outside the Iwanski home as a male officer sprints up the walkway toward the house, gun drawn. A female officer, also with her weapon drawn, approaches from the side.
“Shots fired,” is heard coming through a police radio as the male officer swings open the front storm door and shouts, “Get down! Get down!”
The 10-second clip ends with what sounds like a groan coming from inside the home. There is no further footage from the doorbell camera.
Doorbell camera taken
The camera is no longer on the exterior of the Iwanski’s home. He said Friday he doesn’t know what happened to it. When asked if police seized the doorbell camera — which does not store images but uploads them to the cloud — a spokesperson for the Fayetteville Police Department directed the question to the State Bureau of Investigation.
As is routine in shooting cases involving law enforcement, the state agency has taken lead in the investigation. A spokesperson for the SBI said Friday that the SBI “did not remove any cameras from Mr. Iwanski’s residence.” When asked if Fayetteville police seized a camera, the spokesperson did not immediately respond.
Twenty minutes after the shooting, an external camera shows Rick Iwanski being led outside through the backdoor in handcuffs. Iwanski said Monday that after his granddaughter was tackled but before she was shot, he lunged at police to stop them and was handcuffed.
Nearly three hours after police first arrived at the home, and more than an hour after her granddaughter was shot, Maria Iwanski — holding her great-granddaughter in her arms — is walked to a vehicle in the driveway by a man who appears to be an evidence technician. There, she waits.
In the hours after Johnson’s shooting, the cameras capture images of officers taking photos and talking with the Iwanskis.
A little over four hours after the shooting, Rick and Maria Iwanski are heard talking to each other.
At one point, Rick Iwanski declared, “He (expletive) it up taking her down,” before the clip ends.
According to Fayetteville’s assistant police chief, the two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. He said that in addition to the investigation by the SBI, the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit is conducting a probe into the shooting.
The names of the officers have not been released. When asked when the names would be released, a spokesperson for the Police Department said Tuesday she was unable to answer that question.
Public safety reporter Lexi Solomon can be reached at ABSolomon@gannett.com.
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This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Doorbell camera records shooting of Fayetteville woman; before, after