Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert has ruled that two officers "were justified in their use of deadly force" against a 54-year-old Westridge man in an Aug. 15 confrontation.
In a news release, police said no criminal charges will be sought against any officer in this incident, which happened during a domestic dispute on Flodden Court.
The criminal investigation into the officer-involved shooting was conducted by detectives from the Prince William County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. The findings were 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.
Police were called to the 4300 block of Flodden Court at 6:12 a.m., after a caller contacted 911 on behalf of the suspect's wife, 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," police said in a news release.
The first two officers arriving at the home at approximately 6:16 a.m. and initially encountered the wife on the front lawn. The woman reported her husband had threatened her and their children, police said.
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 release said.
"The suspect ignored those commands and began to rapidly advance towards the two officers in a charging motion while armed with the knife," police said.
The two officers opened fire with their department-issued handguns and struck the suspect who was then subsequently detained at approximately 6:18 a.m.
Officers provided first-aid to the suspect until fire and rescue personnel arrived at the home a short time later.
The suspect was taken to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries where he remains in the custody of Adult Detention Center staff. He 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.
“[The officers] were confronted by [the suspect] with a knife and clearly were placed in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm," Ebert said. "Consequently, in my opinion the shooting was justified.”
On Aug. 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 Oct. 2. Any additional charges are expected through indictments by the grand jury at a later date.
“Without hesitation, these officers responded courageously to this incident where little information was known about the armed assailant," police Chief Barry Barnard said. "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.
The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Anthony Edwards, 27, and Michael Ragan, 24, both with more than three years of service with the Prince William County Police Department. 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.