Prince William County officers justified in shooting suspect, attorney rules


An update to last week's incident where police shot a suspect armed with a knife in Woodbridge

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Two Prince William County officers were justified in using deadly force against a suspect during an encounter on August 15 in Woodbridge, Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert said Thursday.

Last week, Prince William County police responded to a domestic call on behalf of a woman living in the 4300 block of Flodden Ct. The caller reported an argument was happening in the home involving a woman and her husband, Mark Edward Johnson, 54. Johnson was allegedly threatening his wife while also armed with a screwdriver, according to police.

When Officer Anthony Edwards and Officer Michael Ragan arrived at the location around 6:16 a.m., police said Johnson’s wife was on the front lawn, and reported her husband was still inside the home and had threatened her and her children. She also told the officers that Johnson was armed with a knife and pellet gun, police said.

According to police, Johnson eventually came to the front door of the home and the officers issued commands, which Johnson ignored. Police said Johnson began to “rapidly advance” towards the officers in a “charging motion” while armed with a knife. That’s when Officer Edwards and Officer Ragan opened fire and struck Johnson, who was then detained around 6:18 a.m., police said.

More officers arrived on scene and provided first-aid to Johnson, police said. Johnson was taken to a local hospital for treatment of serious injuries, and he is expected to survive. No one else was injured during the incident, including Johnson’s wife and children, according to police.

Johnson remains in the custody of Adult Detention Center staff while he’s being treated. Police said Johnson is charged with two counts of attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer. A preliminary court date is scheduled for October 2, 2019.

The Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney said no criminal charges will be sought against any officer for the incident.

“[The officers] were confronted by [the suspect] with a knife and clearly were placed in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm. Consequently, in my opinion, the shooting was justified,” Ebert said.

Both officers involved in the shooting have returned to duty, police said. Neither Edwards nor Ragan has been involved in any previous officer-involved shootings.

This investigation was conducted by detectives from the Prince William County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and was reviewed by the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office.

According to police, the Prince William County Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards is continuing an independent administrative investigation into the shooting. A final review of the incident will be conducted by the Police Department’s Use of Deadly Force Review Board, which will examine all aspects of the incident. The Board will determine if the shooting was within policy and will make any recommendations as needed based on their findings.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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