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Commonwealth’s Attorney rules officer-involved shooting in Lake Ridge was justified

The criminal investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred on August 15, 2019, on Flodden Court in the Woodbridge area of Prince William County has been completed.

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 for a determination of criminal liability concerning the officers’ actions, as well as the suspect’s actions, during the incident.

To keep residents of Prince William County informed of significant incidents involving our officers and the community, further details of the investigation and the ruling of criminal liability are being publicly disclosed, according to Sgt. Jonathan Perok, police department spokesman.

On August 15, 2019, at approximately 6:12AM, the Prince William County Public Safety Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from a third-party individual reporting a domestic at a home located in the 4300 block of Flodden Ct in Woodbridge. The caller contacted police on behalf of the wife, identified as a 52-year-old woman, who reported that an argument was occurring inside the home involving the husband, later identified as Mark Edward Johnson.

The suspect was allegedly threatening his wife while also armed with a screwdriver. The call was dispatched to officers at approximately 6:13AM with the first two officers arriving at the home at approximately 6:16AM. The officers initially encountered the wife on the front lawn of the residence where she reported that the suspect was still inside the home and that he had threatened her and their children.

During that conversation, the wife also informed the officers that the suspect was armed with a knife and a pellet gun. The suspect eventually came to the front door of the home where officers issued commands. The suspect ignored those commands and began to rapidly advance towards the two officers in a charging motion while armed with the knife.

The two officers opened fire with their Department-issued handguns and struck the suspect who was then subsequently detained at approximately 6:18AM. Additional officers arrived at the home to secure the scene.

Officers provided first-aid to the suspect until Fire & Rescue Personnel arrived at the home a short time later. The suspect was transported to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries where he remains in the custody of Adult Detention Center staff. The suspect is expected to survive. Both officers were in full uniform at the time of the incident and were not injured during the encounter. The wife and children were also uninjured.

On August 26, the suspect, Mark Edward Johnson, 54, was charged with two counts of attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer. A preliminary court date is scheduled for October 2, 2019. Any additional charges are expected through indictments by the Grand Jury at a later date.

Upon reviewing the actions of the officers involved in the shooting and the details of the investigation as described above, Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Paul Ebert, ruled that both officers were justified in their use of deadly force against the suspect during this encounter. No criminal charges will be sought against any officer in this incident.

Ebert was quoted in the news release as saying, “[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.”

Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard commented, “Without hesitation, these officers responded courageously to this incident where little information was known about the armed assailant. The officers were presented with a difficult decision and had to act quickly to stop the threat, not only to themselves, but to his family. Thankfully no one else was injured during this encounter. Police work is complex, and we are appreciative for the support our community shows us every day.”

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.

Perok identified the officers involved in the shooting as Anthony Edwards, age 27, and Michael Ragan, age 24, both with 3+ years-of-service with the Prince William County Police Department.

He said both officers are assigned to the Central Patrol District within the Operations Division and have not been involved in any previous officer-involved shootings. Both officers have returned to duty, Perok added.

The police department spokesman concluded, “Police Department recognizes the sensitivity of officer-involved shootings and the public’s interest in remaining informed as to the circumstances surrounding incidents when the police use deadly force. We remain committed to conducting a thorough investigation when these incidents occur and appreciate our community’s patience while we gather and process information.”


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