“A CBS4 Investigation has learned Arapahoe County Deputies and Colorado State Troopers poured more than 50 shots into a stationary car in March believing the driver was armed. It now turns out she was only armed with either a dustbuster or tire jack but emerged unscathed. However at least one deputy inadvertently shot up a marked state patrol unit during the unusual standoff.” And here’s how this ballistic bufoonery began . . .
It began with two drivers reporting to police that Johnson was driving erratically on Interstate 70. Johnson subsequently called police and in slurred tones, said that she was armed with an Ak-47 and intended to kill as many police as possible. “I want to kill cops,” said Johnson on the taped call. “I’m gonna kill all the cops I can. I have a gun, have a machete, have an AK-47.”
Arapahoe County deputies and the Colorado State Patrol caught up with Johnson’s Ford Focus on I-70 near Agate at about 11:30 pm. On March 3rd. They conducted a high-risk stop, keeping their distance and repeatedly urging Johnson to show her hands and get out of her car.
After about 15 minutes, believing Johnson had pointed a gun at them, officers unleashed a volley of shots into her car. When nothing happened after the first round of shots, officers continued shouting commands at Johnson to get out of the car.
When they again thought they saw a gun, more shots were fired into her car. “Those deputies and troopers showed a lot of restraint in not causing a further confrontation,” said [Arapahoe County Sheriff Dave] Walcher.
In about 30 minutes, from approximately 75 feet away, deputies and troopers fired 55 rounds at Johnson’s car from AR-15 rifles, .40 caliber pistols, and a shotgun. Not a single round hit her.
“I am surprised,” said Walcher.
I’m not. Not when the Chief considers 52 shots fired at an unarmed driver from multiple officers (including state police) “restraint.” Now about that bullet-ridden cop car . . .
Photos of the crime scene obtained by CBS4 also show that in the bursts of gunfire, an Arapahoe County deputy accidentally shot up a state patrol cruiser. Reports suggest the patrol vehicle was struck 28 times. The deputy was standing immediately behind the car but was apparently unaware that many of his shots intended for Johnson were actually hitting the patrol car.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Dave Walcher said,”With all the distractions and lights I don’t think our deputy realized he was hitting the top of the car”. He said his department is doing additional training to address the misfires.
Misfires? I suppose that’s one word for it. And speaking of words that don’t quite fit reality . . .
Although no weapons were found in her car, a Colorado State Patrol spokesperson apparently told multiple media outlets the next morning that officers only fired at Johnson after she shot at them. CSP Chief Scott Hernandez now acknowledges that was not true.
“Unfortunately sometimes things are said that’s not specifically accurate”, said Hernandez. “I don’t think it was intentional to go out that way”.
He said somehow incorrect information about Johnson being armed was repeated and shared with law enforcement and the public. “As we know the facts now, that’s not the case.”
Here’s a true fact: anyone who thinks cops are the only ones who should be armed is wrong. On a lot of levels.