Lufkin Police officers were cleared in the March shooting of Epthen Johnson, who was repeatedly stabbing Jose Isabel Rodriguez. Police had ordered Johnson to put down the knife but he ignored them and continued to stab the victim. Even scarier than that was after the police pumped a few bullets into him he didn’t even flinch. The police fired at him again and Johnson received a fatal shot. Toxicology reports showed that Johnson had marijuana and PCP in his system.
The Lufkin Police put out the following statement:
A Lufkin Police officer has been no billed in the March shooting death of an aggravated assault suspect.
The incident involving 6-year veteran Officer Blake Witherspoon was presented to the grand jury today, resulting in a no bill. A “no bill” means the grand jury concluded that Witherspoon acted appropriately in the line of duty and that they saw no grounds to indict him on a criminal charge.
The officer arrived to see Johnson crouched on top of the man, stabbing and cutting at his head and neck. The officer gave multiple commands of “let me see your hands.” Johnson did not acknowledge the officer’s presence and continued stabbing at the man. Recognizing the signs of PCP intoxication, the officer did not believe a Taser would be an effective tool instopping Johnson’s attack.
The officer fired three shots, but Johnson continued making stabbing motions at the man’s throat. Believing the man was in mortal danger, the officer then fired a fourth shot, ending the attack.
Johnson’s toxicology report confirmed that he was high on PCP and marijuana at the time of the attack.
The witness who reported the incident later dialed 911 again and apologized for his language, saying “the cop had to shoot the one dude who was stabbing him.”
Police Chief Gerald Williamson thanked the grand jury for their service:
“Grand juries are a vitally important part of our criminal justice system – one more component that ensures our citizens are the ones making the ultimate judgment when deadly force is used,” Williamson said.
“It is clear to me in this circumstance that the grand jury was diligent and thoughtful and made the appropriate determination. An officer’s desire is always to save life and prevent injury, but a sad reality is that We sometimes have to take lethal action to preserve or protect the lives of others.”
H/T Blue Lives Matter