Deputy who fatally shot Joshua Johnson when he pointed a replica gun at cops gets cleared by grand jury

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HOUSTON, TX- According to recent reports, a Harris County grand jury has declined to charge the sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot 35-year-old Joshua Johnson after Johnson approached the deputy with a Glock-replica BB gun.

The incident originally occurred on the evening of April 22, 2020 when Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Tu Tran was on an undercover assignment on East Ritter Circle for a capital murder suspect.

Deputy Tran was reportedly on assignment with the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force and was working in plain clothes in an unmarked police car during the undercover assignment. 

Authorities said that Johnson, who was house-sitting for a neighbor, approached the unmarked police vehicle with a pistol and cellphone flashlight. Johnson tapped on the window and the officer said that he told Johnson to lower his gun, which was later determined to be a BB gun.

Instead of following the orders from Deputy Tran, Johnson raised the gun, prompting the officer to shoot him. The Sheriff’s office reiterated that the BB gun looked like a Glock handgun. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement:

“As with all officer-involved shootings, we presented all of the evidence to a grand jury and gave parties the opportunity to come forward to testify. The grand jury handed down a no-bill, declining to charge anyone with a crime. We appreciate the grand jurors who considered this case and we respect their decision.”

Ogg added that the case had been separately reviewed by the Civil Rights Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which were on the scene of the shooting and brought in a ballistic expert to assist in their investigation. Ogg said:

“Every bit of evidence was presented to grand jurors for their consideration. We left no stone unturned; a grand jury is the civilian review board of the justice system and they have the power of subpoena to review everything.”

Assistant District Attorney Michael Harrison, who presented the case, stated that the presentation took several days and the grand jury was diversely represented.

The deputy was not wearing a body-cam the night of the shooting because he was working undercover, however, some of the incident was captured by security cameras on a nearby house. U.S. Representative Al Green (D-TX), said in a statement:

“This was painful because there are still questions that haven’t been answered with reference to their son and what happened to him. This does not close the case for them. It’s not over for them because this is all that they know.”

Green added:

“They don’t know what was said to the grand jury. They don’t know what the ballistics report revealed.”

Since the shooting, Deputy Tran has been on paid administrative leave, which is protocol for all deputy-involved shootings. Harris County Sheriff’s Office Public Affairs Director Jason Spencer said that the grand jury’s decision not to charge Deputy Tran would start the next part of the review process. Spencer said:

“Now that a grand jury has issued a no-bill in this case, the sheriff’s office will move forward with an administrative review to determine whether all applicable policies were followed.”

Johnson’s family said that they were heartbroken by the grand jury’s decision. James Hudson, the family spokesperson said to reporters after the announcement:

“We’re just left here with those two words, ‘no bill’ and that is not right.”

The family is now reportedly calling for full disclosure of all the evidence. 

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Officers ambushed, shot at while working separate shooting scene in Detroit

April 21st, 2021

DETROIT, MI – According to officials, Detroit Police officers that were working a crime scene involving multiple gunshot victims during the early morning hours of April 19th were ambushed by a 27-year-old suspect who had reportedly opened fire on the officers working the crime scene.

Officials say that the suspect who allegedly tried shooting the officers was fatally shot by police following a pursuit.

Here are the details known so far.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig described the April 19th incident as being “very complex,” which is a rather appropriate analysis.

The incident regarding the early morning ambush is tied to two other crime scenes, one being a shooting incident and a fatal crash nearby the shooting scene, that Detroit officers had been working since the evening of April 18th.

At approximately 10:50 p.m. on April 18th, police began working the scene of a shooting where five people had been non-fatally shot near West McNichols Road and Ward Avenue.

Chief Craig said the five victims from that shooting were four men, aged 36, 32, 29 and 18, as well as a 30-year-old woman.

Not far from the shooting scene, Detroit officers we’re investigating a fatal crash. Investigators believe that the shooting scene and the fatal crash are linked, presuming that the suspects from the shooting had fled the location and wound up colliding with another car.

Reportedly, one person died as a result of that collision.

Considering how late in the evening police started investigating the April 18th shooting incident, officers were still actively working the crime scene during the early morning hours of April 19th.

Chief Craig says that at approximately 2:38 a.m. on April 19th, a 27-year-old man that was inside of a 2019 Yukon drove up to where the officers were still investigating the shooting scene and opened fire on the officers.

Reports indicate that the suspect inside of the Yukon fired three shots at officers, with each shot striking police vehicles staged around the crime scene.

The suspect was said to have then fled the scene, leading to a high-speed police pursuit that spanned across various neighborhoods and briefly taking place on the freeway.

Chief Craig made the following remarks regarding the police pursuit of the suspect:

“Clearly this was a suspect that we had to apprehend. Clearly he was focused on one thing and one thing only: to kill a police officer.”

The alleged gunman was said to have pulled into a parking lot in the area of Mohican and East 8 Mile Road, exiting the Yukon and allegedly shooting at officers once again.

Officers reportedly exchanged gunfire with the suspect briefly, with Chief Craig noting that it’s unclear whether the suspect was shot by any the returned fire that occurred during the parking lot exchange.

The suspect was said to have then fled the parking lot area on foot, eventually getting tracked down roughly half a mile away from where he abandoned his vehicle.

Authorities say that the suspect had pointed his firearm at officers that had located him, which then led to another instance of exchanged gunfire between police and the suspect. Chief Craig says that this final encounter led to the suspect being shot.

Officers on scene immediately rendered first aid to the suspect, with first responders later transferring the suspect to a nearby hospital. However, the suspect died as a result of his sustained injuries.

Investigators recovered a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson at the scene of the final encounter with the 27-year-old suspect.

Even though investigators haven’t pieced together a motive regarding why the suspect would allegedly target police officers working a crime scene, Chief Craig noted that the suspect recently dealt with the deaths of his six-month-old cousin and a 21-year-old friend.

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On top of the recent losses that this suspect reportedly was dealing with, Chief Craig also pointed out that the suspect had been consuming alcohol inside of his vehicle prior to the ambush.

Chief Craig described the suspect’s alleged actions prior to firing at officers as being a scenario where he was almost “preparing himself for battle”:

“We believe – again, we may know as this investigation progresses – that he laid in wait. He waited. Again, he encountered our officers at 2:30 in the morning.

“We were at the scene doing our investigative work at around 10:30. So we believe he sat there. He may have been nearby, certainly consuming alcohol. His music was loud. It was as if he was preparing himself for battle.”

While investigators believe that the deceased suspect carried out the shooting with intent, authorities are still uncertain of what may have motivated his alleged actions outside of possibly being in a state of depression, according to Chief Craig:

“We don’t know if he was going through a state of depression at the time. We’re trying to figure out what would be the motive in an unprovoked way to attack Detroit police officers for no apparent reason.”

The Detroit Police chief did point out that incidents involving police officers being targeted in attacks is partially inspired by the “anti-police rhetoric” that has become all the more normalized in modern times:

“We have seen an increase in violence directed at police officers, not just here in Detroit, but around this country. Personally, I think it’s the anti-police rhetoric.”

When commenting on the criminal history of the deceased suspect, Chief Craig stated that the individual had “very little” of such.

Luckily, throughout the entirety of the exchanged gunfire and pursuit of the suspect, no officers were injured.

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