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UPDATE | Expected charges upgraded in fatal Charleston Police shooting

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 3:06 PM EST
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UPDATE 12/4/20 @ 10:30 a.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The Charleston Police Department is increasing expected charges to be filed against the man arrested for shooting Patrolman Cassie Johnson.

Joshua Phillips will now be charged with first degree murder, city officials tell WSAZ. The department is also exploring all avenues at the state and federal levels to possibly add additional charges.

Phillips is currently being treated at CAMC for injuries he sustained in the exchange of gunfire that killed Johnson, who was responding to a parking complaint.

Sheriff Mike Rutherford said the Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation of the crime scene and will turn its findings over to the Charleston Police Department for official charges to be filed once Phillips is released from the hospital and can be arraigned.

UPDATE 12/3/20 @ 6:00 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson has passed away after being shot in the line of duty Tuesday.

The Charleston Police Chief made the announcement during a press conference Thursday evening.

Officer Johnson died Thursday at 4 p.m., approximately 48 hours after she was shot while responding to a call about a parking complaint on Garrison Ave.

She will have a Hero’s Funeral Service at the Charleston Convention Center. The date and time will be announced within the next few days.

Chief Tyke Hunt said on Wednesday, “all of us at the Charleston Police Department are humbled by Cassie Johnson’s selfless service to our profession and she epitomizes the law enforcement mantra, here to protect and serve. Patrolman Cassie Johnson provided her service up to her last breath, for she decided years ago to be an organ donor. We may never know who receives Patrolman Cassie Johnson’s final gifts but I feel certain those who know the recipients will see a difference in them. I think they will see Cassie’s glow that radiates compassion and her desire to help.”

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin spoke at the press conference. She said, “to say we are heartbroken is an understatement. We are at a loss because we have lost one of our sisters in blue. As chief noted, we will continue to work with the family and the Charleston Police Department to ensure that Patrolman Johnson has the service and recognition of a hero because she is one.”

“Tonight I have ordered all city flags to start immediately flying half-staff. Those flags will continue to be lowered until final services are complete.” said Mayor Goodwin.

The medical staff is performing surgeries to ensure the suspect is getting the best care possible, according to the police chief.

The procession for Officer Johnson will occur on Friday.

On Wednesday, Chief Hunt said, “with a heavy heart, I’m sorry to say she’s not going to be able to pull through this.”

Officer Johnson’s organs will be donated.

“Her loss is deeply felt by so many and that many will keep her memory and sacrifice alive,” said retired Charleston Police Lt. Paul Perdue. “I’m not at all surprised that Cassie is saving lives by donating her organs to those in need. The end of her life will be the second beginning for others and that’s just who she was.”

During a vigil Wednesday night hundreds came together for a vigil to honor Officer Johnson.

“I never realized until this happened how many in this community loved her,” Officer Johnson’s mother Cheryl said at the vigil. “That means more to me than anything in this world...She loved this city, she loved her job, and she tried to protect everybody...I love my daughter.”

Feel free to send WSAZ any pictures or videos of any memorials in honor of Officer Cassie Johnson by clicking below.

UPDATE 12/3/20 @ 2:56 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The Charleston Police Department is retiring the unit number for Officer Cassie Johnson.

Johnson was shot Tuesday.

According to the city of Charleston, Police Chief Tyke Hunt released a statement Thursday afternoon: “I want to thank everyone for their show of support for Patrolman Cassie Johnson, her mother, Sheryl Johnson, and the rest of the Johnson family. The display of pictures and signs throughout our city is truly moving.

“I wanted to take a moment to share with you one way the Charleston Police Department will ensure Patrolman Cassie Johnson is remembered by all who follow in her brave footsteps should they answer the call to serve. All members of the Charleston Police Department are issued a unit number and it signifies their seniority and rank. Patrolman Cassie Johnson’s unit number is 146. I am officially giving the order to retire unit number 146 on the Charleston Police Department’s roster. The Charleston Police Department roster will forever reflect “In Memory – Cassie Johnson” beside the now retired unit number.

“You may see a pin showing the numbers 146 affixed to uniforms of your Charleston Police Officers, or other memorabilia with 146 on it. This is our way of honoring the heroic acts of our fallen sister, Patrolman Cassie Johnson, as she gave her life while serving her home city.”

UPDATE 12/3/20 @ 2:17 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – New details about what happened during an officer-involved shooting have been released.

According to Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford, Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson was responding to a 911 call about a traffic complaint on Tuesday. The complaint was that Joshua Phillips was parked in a driveway that wasn’t his.

Sheriff Rutherford says, “What we have found is that the officer responded to the parking complaint. She went to a residence across the street from where the car was parked, it was a red Durango. Once she went to that residence, we see on video that she came back to the vehicle in question, the Durango, followed by the individual that ended up being in the confrontation. There was some discussion back and forth. It appears she may have attempted to place him under arrest because there was a scuffle at that time. For a brief period of time, they stopped, it started again and that’s when the incident went down, and it got obviously much worse.”

The sheriff tells WSAZ Phillips was alone. He says Phillips was the one who pulled a gun first. However, it isn’t clear who shot first.

Investigators say Phillips was hit twice in the chest/abdomen area. Officer Johnson was hit once in the head. It’s not known if any other shots were fired at this time.

Sheriff Rutherford says Phillips then got in a car and drove away after shots were fired.

Phillips was found and arrested at a second scene. He was taken to the hospital. Rutherford says Phillips was “very injured” and doesn’t expect him to be released from the hospital any time soon.

Charges will be decided by the Charleston Police Department and prosecutor. Sheriff Rutherford says he doesn’t see any way they’re not upgraded to murder.

“I couldn’t imagine it would be anything less than a murder charge, but again, that’s totally up to Charleston’s final investigation and the Prosecutor’s office determination that I couldn’t imaging it being anything less than that,” said Sheriff Rutherford.

On Wednesday, Charleston Police said during a press conference that Johnson will not be able to pull through this.

Police say Johnson is an organ donor, so she will be able to give the gift of life to someone else.

Thursday morning, Charleston Mayor, Amy Shuler Goodwin, says the medical team is working to find matches as part of the organ donation process with Officer Johnson.

A GoFundMe account to help raise funds for Officer Johnson’s family has been set up. Tap or click here for more information.

This is a developing story. Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

UPDATE 12/3/20 @ 10:27 a.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Charleston Mayor, Amy Shuler Goodwin, says the medical team is working to find matches as part of the organ donation process for CPD Officer Cassie Johnson.

Officer Johnson was shot twice on Tuesday over a parking complaint, according to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say Joshua Phillips is the suspect and was also shot. He is in the hospital.

On Wednesday, Charleston Police said Johnson will not be able to pull through this.

Police say Johnson is an organ donor, so she will be able to give the gift of life to someone else. Mayor Goodwin says these are “Cassie’s final selfless gifts.”

Medical professionals will be working over the next 24-48 hours to find matches.

UPDATE 12/2/20 @ 7:15 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Scores gathered Wednesday evening at Laidley Field to honor the life and legacy of Charleston Police Department Officer Cassie Johnson.

A prayer vigil Wednesday night at Laidley Field honored the life and service of Charleston...
A prayer vigil Wednesday night at Laidley Field honored the life and service of Charleston Police Department Officer Cassie Johnson.(WSAZ)

While city leaders said earlier that Johnson, 28, is still alive, they said she will not survive her injuries – suffered in the line of duty Tuesday while responding to a traffic situation on Garrison Avenue.

Through tears and obvious heartbreak, city leaders, along with Officer Johnson’s mother, shared what she has meant to the community.

“I never dreamed until this happened how many of these people loved her,” her mother Sheryl Johnson said. “She loved this community and tried to protect everyone.”

She went on to say, “I want to thank everyone that has been to the hospital today and yesterday. Just to share a story, just to hold her hand, and just to tell her goodbye. And I know she’ll live on with others. So, thank you everybody.”

Speaking to Sheryl Johnson, Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said, “Mom, you raised her right,” saying Cassie is a “good-hearted” soul who “had to pay the ultimate price.”

Before calling for a moment of silence, Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said, “She had the best and the biggest laugh,” saying Officer Johnson was many things to different people – an officer, a daughter, an animal lover, a friend.

Earlier in the evening, Retired Charleston Police Department Lt. Paul Perdue provided his memories of Officer Johnson in this statement:

“Cassie Johnson was a Charleston native who was very proud of her city. She grew up in a very loving home with a mother whose work ethic she constantly bragged about. It’s obvious where Cassie received her hard working attitude, ambition, and grit.

“Cassie’s favorite family moments were of the holidays when she and her sister would help their mom erect the largest collection of Christmas decorations in North America- enough inflatables to float a battleship and lights that could be seen from space.

“Cassie had a great love for animals. She often spoke of her current and past pets and the impact they had on her life. It was this love for animals that first brought Cassie to CPD where I was fortunate enough to supervise her in her role as a Humane Officer. She worked countless cases of animal cruelty seeking justice for those without a voice. It was in that role that Cassie began preparing for her dream job of giving back to her city and being a Charleston Police Officer.

“She worked out hard everyday and prepared herself mentally. That hard work paid off on January 11, 2019 when I was able to stand beside of Chief Opie Smith to see her sworn in.

“I have always been very proud of Cassie- her professionalism, her tenacity, her attention to detail, her friendship, and her compassion.

“Cassie Johnson is a true credit to herself, her family, and the great City of Charleston. Please pray for Cassie, her family, and her law enforcement family.

“Her loss is deeply felt by so many and that many will keep her memory and sacrifice alive. I’m not at all surprised that Cassie is saving lives by donating her organs to those in need. The end of her life will be the second beginning for others and that’s just who she was.

“Goodbye, my friend.”

The Charleston community and beyond are honoring Officer Johnson in many ways, including the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center being lit up in blue Wednesday night.

The Charleston Coliseum Convention Center was lit up blue Wednesday night to honor Officer...
The Charleston Coliseum Convention Center was lit up blue Wednesday night to honor Officer Cassie Johnson, gravely injured in a shooting in the line of duty.(WSAZ/Andrew Colegrove)

A GoFundMe account to help raise funds for Officer Johnson’s family has been set up. Tap or click here for more information.

We will have more of this developing story. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest.

UPDATE 12/2/20 @ 5:05 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Charleston Police have announced the officer who was shot, Cassie Johnson, will not be able to pull through.

Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt made the announcement during a news conference Wednesday evening.

He says she’s fighting, but her body isn’t able to sustain life by itself.

“With a heavy heart, I’m sorry to say she’s not going to be able to pull through this,” the chief said.

Police say Johnson is an organ donor, so she will be able to give the gift of life to someone else.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin says patrolman Johnson was a wonderful, bright young woman who is going to leave an amazing legacy for every woman in the city. The mayor asks for everyone to continue to pray for Johnson’s family, the Charleston Police Department and first responders.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting the investigation. Once that is finished, they will turn their information over to the Charleston Police Department and Kanawha County Prosecutor’s office to determine what charges will be brought forth.

The sheriff says the suspect, Joshua Phillips, is at CAMC. CPD says Phillips is recovering.

Kanawha County Sheriff Rutherford released details about the shooting. On Tuesday, there was a complaint of a traffic problem on Garrison Avenue and Officer Johnson responded to it. There was an altercation and the confrontation expanded. The officer and individual suffered gunshot wounds. No other details will be released due to the investigation.

There will be a vigil at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Laidley Field to honor Officer Johnson.

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

UPDATE 12/2/20 @ 2:33 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A vigil will be held for the Charleston Police Officer who was shot.

The city of Charleston says a candlelight vigil will be held for Officer Cassie Johnson.

It will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 2 at Laidley Field.

Traffic is asked to come in from Washington Street, down Elizabeth Street to enter the Laidley Filed parking lot.

City officials say individuals are encouraged to bring candles.

Officer Johnson was shot on Tuesday.

CPD says Joshua Phillips allegedly shot Johnson in the face over a parking complaint.

The officer is in the ICU.

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

UPDATE 12/2/20 @ 1:14 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - More information is being released about a man Charleston Police say shot Officer Cassie Johnson on Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint, Joshua Phillips, was previously arrested for DUI in January. Investigators say CPD responded to an assault call on Garrison Avenue. Dispatchers told police that Phillips assaulted his brother with a handgun and took off in a red Dodge Durango.

Police responded and saw a red Dodge Durango parked in a restaurant parking lot on Bigley Avenue. Police say the vehicle drove off and went to Garrison Avenue.

Officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and says the driver was Phillips.

Investigators say Phillips did not have a valid driver license, it was revoked for DUI. The effective date for the DUI was 10/13/2016. They say he also had multiple unpaid citations.

Officials say he was out on bond for the DUI.

Charleston Police say Phillips allegedly shot Officer Johnson on Tuesday over a parking complaint.

Johnson is in the ICU and will likely require another surgery.West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says she was shot in the face.

The Charleston Police Chief says Phillips was also shot in the incident and was taken to the hospital.

Phillips is facing an attempted murder charge, according to city officials.

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

UPDATE 12/2/20 @ 12:20 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The name of a man Charleston Police say shot Officer Cassie Johnson Tuesday has been released.

Police say Joshua Phillips, 38, from Charleston is the suspect who allegedly shot Officer Johnson.

Chief Hunt says Phillips was also shot in the incident and taken to the hospital.

City officials say Phillips faces an attempted murder charge.

Officer Johnson is still in the ICU and likely will require another surgery.

UPDATE 12/2/20 @ 11:47 a.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has released a statement on the Charleston Police officer who was shot.

During his press conference Wednesday morning, Governor Justice says Officer Cassie Johnson was shot in the face while responding to a parking complaint on Tuesday.

She underwent three hours of surgery and is critical condition.

Governor Justice says, “It’s just unacceptable. It’s just terribly sad. Here we have a police officer that is a hero in every way as all of our police officers are and all the great work they’re doing every single day. Just think these are the people we call when we have an issue, a problem, worry or concern... Shot in the face. Cathy and I ask you very sincerely with all in us to keep this officer, all of her loved ones in your prayers...”

“Immediately when I heard about this, I let Charleston police know they have all the resources of state police to assist them in every way,” Governor Justice said.

The Charleston Mayor says they are waiting for test results and then will give an update.

WSAZ has also been told there will be a press conference on Wednesday.

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

UPDATE 12/1/20 @ 11:55 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A Charleston Police officer shot Tuesday afternoon while responding to a parking complaint has a pulse, but she’s “not out of the woods.”

CPD Chief Tyke Hunt gave that statement during a news conference outside CAMC General where Officer Cassie Johnson is a patient.

“Officer Johnson was struck in what would normally be a fatal wound, but in the true fighting spirit of the Charleston Police Department and those who are truly called to serve she is a fighter,” Hunt said. “She has a pulse and she’s not out of the woods, but she is going to be recovering and we hope and pray she makes a full recovery.”

The chief went on to say, “I thank God every moment she’s still with us.”

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin said outside the hospital Tuesday evening, “I just want to first of all say thank you to our entire Charleston community. It was a very difficult day for our first responders, the medics who arrived to help Cassie and the officers who were beside her every day so not only do we need your prayers tonight need for Cassie but we need prayers tonight for her mother Cheryl, her sister Chelsea but also to our first responders who make these calls who make these calls every single day.”

The shooting was reported shortly before 3 p.m. on Garrison Avenue near the intersection of Crescent Road.

Hunt said the suspect also was shot but is still alive.

Johnson, who is 28, was sworn in Jan. 11, 2019.

“It’s been a dream of mine for a while and I’m just happy to see it finally come to fruition,” Johnson said at the time. “I’ve been working extremely hard over the last year to get ready for it and I’m just really happy that I get to follow my dreams and be able to work for Charleston PD work with a great group of guys and be able to help out the city.”

Support for Johnson has been pouring in from law enforcement agencies throughout the Tri-State, as well as from her alma mater, Capital High School.

Throughout the night officers from several different departments came to the hospital as a show of support. So did members of the public. They came to pray or even bring food and warm drinks to officers.

Several neighbors say they witnessed the suspect being taken into custody right outside his home, which is about a mile from the scene of the shooting.

“It’s a sad situation, because these cops are here to serve and protect everyone around the community,” said Jordan Stone, who lives on Garrison Avenue.

Many neighbors, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation, tell WSAZ the shooting did not come as a surprise.

“The gentleman (suspect) causes lots of problems in the neighborhood,” one neighbor said. “He has had multiple calls. He causes problems with several neighbors.”

This is a developing story. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

Please keep your thoughts and prayers with our sister-officer at Charleston Police Department who has been shot in the...

Posted by South Charleston Police Department on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

UPDATE 12/1/20 @ 4:07 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A Charleston Police Officer has been shot.

Deputies with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office tell WSAZ the officer was responding to a parking complaint on Garrison Avenue when the shooting happened.

She has been taken to the hospital.

Investigators say the suspect was also shot, presumably by the officer. He was taken into custody elsewhere on Garrison Avenue by Charleston Police.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office and Charleston Police Department are investigating.

The Chief of Police Tyke Hunt and Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin have released a statement saying, “This (Tuesday) afternoon, a Charleston Police Officer was shot while in the line of duty, The officer has been transported to the hospital and is in surgery at this time. We ask all Charleston residents to keep our officer and the entire Charleston Police Department in their thoughts and prayers. We will provide more information as it is available.”

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

A Female CPD officer was taken to an area hospital after a shooting Tuesday afternoon.
A Female CPD officer was taken to an area hospital after a shooting Tuesday afternoon.(wsaz)

UPDATE 12/1/20 @ 3:34 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A Charleston Police officer has been shot, according to Kanawha County Deputies.

Deputies say Metro 911 had a report of an officer down Tuesday afternoon.

A suspect has been detained by Charleston Police.

WSAZ has a crew at the scene.

No other information has been released.

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Charleston Police Officer.

Posted by West Virginia State Police on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

ORIGINAL STORY 12/1/20 @ 3:06 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Crews are responding to an officer-involved shooting.

According to Kanawha County Deputies, it involves a Charleston Police officer.

Deputies say Metro 911 had a report of an officer down Tuesday afternoon.

Charleston Police have a suspect detained.

No other information has been released.

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.

Officer-involved shooting
Officer-involved shooting(WSAZ)

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