CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/KDKA) — A West Virginia police officer has died two days after being shot by a suspect while responding to a parking complaint.
The city of Charleston announced officer Cassie Johnson’s death in a news release Thursday.
Johnson, 28, joined the city as a humane officer in October 2017 and was sworn in as a patrol officer in January 2019.
“Cassie was an exemplary police officer. She embodied everything that the Charleston Police Department is and strives to be — courageous, compassionate and selfless for the citizens of the city that she loved,” Police Chief Tyke Hunt said in the statement. “Her legacy will live on in the officers and the citizens that she touched and inspired everyday.”
City flags were ordered lowered to half-staff immediately.
“We are heartbroken at the loss of Cassie,” Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said. “She was always willing to lend an extra hand, going above and beyond in every situation. The City of Charleston is a safer, more vibrant place because of Cassie and we are grateful for her service.”
Joshua M. Phillips, 38, of Charleston, is accused of shooting Johnson, Sheriff Mike Rutherford said. Phillips also was wounded on Tuesday and was caught a short distance away. He remained hospitalized. No charges were filed immediately.
RELATED STORY: W. Va. Police Officer Hospitalized After Being Shot
According to a criminal complaint, Phillips had been free on bond from a January 2020 weapon-related arrest, news outlets reported.
Tributes to Johnson poured in from state officials.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said on the Senate floor that everyone should recognize the sacrifices that police officers make.
“Police officers like Officer Johnson never know what’s around the corner,” Capito said. “You never know. She thought she was going for a parking violation. It’s a hard job and one that is rarely appreciated enough.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin released a statement, saying:
“Gayle and I are absolutely heartbroken to hear of Patrolman Cassie Johnson’s passing. I know our entire home state feels the loss of a first responder – those who are selflessly willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve our communities. Cassie’s legacy and service will never be forgotten. We extend our deepest condolences to Cassie’s family and to her many friends and colleagues with the Charleston Police Department, the City of Charleston, and the community.”
The Pittsburgh FBI also paid tribute to Johnson.
“#FBI Pittsburgh sends our deepest condolences to our partners at the Charleston, WV Police Department and the family and friends of Patrolman Cassie Johnson, who died in the line of duty,” the office said on Twitter.
#FBI Pittsburgh sends our deepest condolences to our partners
at the Charleston, WV Police Department and the family and friends of Patrolman Cassie Johnson, who died in the line of duty.#LODD pic.twitter.com/Wvx9CEWnvf
— FBI Pittsburgh (@FBIPittsburgh) December 4, 2020
(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)