A man who was fatally shot by police in Ventnor, N.J., last week was identified by prosecutors on Tuesday as Amir Johnson, 30, of Wilkes-Barre.
Authorities said Johnson was “behaving erratically” at Wellington and West End Avenues around 4:15 p.m. Thursday, holding a broken glass bottle as he walked in and out of a marshy area.
Prosecutors said officers with the Ventnor and Atlantic City Police Departments, responding to a 911 call, attempted to offer him assistance, but he refused to comply with their commands, including repeated requests for him to drop the bottle. Instead, he walked back and forth on the roadway, where officers had stopped traffic for safety reasons, they said.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said Johnson was shot after he advanced on officers with the broken bottle and ignored several commands to drop it. He was rushed by ambulance to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and pronounced dead shortly afterward.
Two people who knew Johnson told The Inquirer on Tuesday that his fiancée had recently died.
Kayla Drevenak, who said she had been in a relationship in Wilkes-Barre with Johnson that ended in 2015, said Johnson’s current girlfriend had died of a drug overdose in July.
And a friend from New York City, Alhassan Abdulfattaah, said Johnson told him in late July that he “had lost his fiancée,” although he did not elaborate. Abdulfattaah said Johnson grew up in the Bronx and returned there last month to stay with him and Johnson’s older brother. “He came to New York City to better his spirits up,” Abdulfattaah said.
On the night of Aug. 1, Abdulfattaah said, he and Johnson went with a group to Atlantic City and gambled through the night at the Ocean Casino Resort. Atlantic City was a place where Johnson had good memories with his girlfriend, Abdulfattaah said, adding that by the time he and the others left Johnson there, his “spirits were good.”
“He was a good person at heart,” Abdulfattaah said, adding that his friend had worked various temporary jobs, including helping people move.