Louisville, KY – The man accused of shooting two Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) officers during the Breonna Taylor riots was indicted on 35 charges on Monday morning but none of them were attempted murder.
The commonwealth’s attorney announced on Nov. 17 that a grand jury had indicted 26-year-old Larynzo Johnson on two counts of assault in the first degree and 33 counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree, WLKY reported.
Protests began in Louisville just moments after it was announced that a Jefferson County grand jury had indicted only one of the three LMPD officers who were involved in the raid at Taylor’s home in March.
The grand jury indicted former LMPD Officer Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots into a neighboring apartment occupied by three people, one of who was a pregnant woman and another was her child, but none of the Louisville police officers were indicted for firing shots after Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire on them.
Video showed that even as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that the special prosecutor’s investigation of the incident had determined that LMPD Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and LMPD Officer Myles Cosgrove were “justified in their use of force after being fired on by Walker,” protesters were preparing to wreak havoc in the streets of Louisville.
Johnson stands accused of shooting two police officers at the protest and endangering the crowd of protesters around them, the Associated Press reported.
Prosecutors said he opened fire on officers doing crowd control during riots at about 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 near Broadway and Brook Street, the Courier-Journal reported.
Police arrested Johnson near the scene of the shooting only minutes after it occurred.
Court documents said witnesses had identified Johnson as the gunman who opened fire during the protests and then fled the scene, WDRB reported.
LMPD Interim Chief Robert Schroeder identified the wounded officers as LMPD Major Aubrey Gregory and LMPD Officer Robinson Desroches.
Maj. Gregory was shot in the hip and Officer Desroches was shot in the abdomen, the Courier-Journal reported.
The criminal complaint said that shell casings from the gun recovered from Johnson matched the bullets that wounded Maj. Gregory and Officer Desroches, WDRB reported.
Both officers survived their gunshot wounds.
Maj. Gregory is the special operations commander for LMPD and supervises the SWAT team, the bomb squad, and the civil defense unit that handles crowd control for the city.
He is a 21-year veteran of the Louisville police force, the Courier-Journal reported.
Officer Desroches joined LMPD in 2019 and is assigned to the Second Division.
Just a few years earlier, he was a defensive end for the Kentucky Wesleyan University football squad, the Courier-Journal reported.
Why isn’t Louisville cop-shooter Larynzo D. Johnson charged with 2 counts of Attempted Murder? pic.twitter.com/ETeOUAqXfZ
— john berkery (@seanmacsean1) September 25, 2020
There was significant criticism and outrage that the man who had tried to kill two police officers wasn’t charged with attempted murder.
“A police officer shot in the gut, and a police officer shot in the hip, in the middle of violent riots and looting would indicate to me that that should be – at a minimum – attempted murder,” National Police Association Spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired police sergeant, told the Daily Mail.
Brantner Smith noted that the arrest affidavit said Johnson “intentionally used a handgun to fire multiple bullets at officers.”
“I don’t know why that wouldn’t be at least, with the one officer shot in the gut, attempted murder,” she told the Daily Mail.
Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeffrey Cooke said the charges had been filed by the arresting officers based on what they felt was appropriate at the time, but that the prosecutor made the ultimate charging decision.
“Ordinarily if someone intentionally shoots at someone with a firearm and hits them the shooter would be charged with Assault in the First Degree. Depending on the facts, Attempted Murder could also be charged,” Cooke claimed in a statement to the Daily Mail.
But the records showed that most of the time, people who fired shots at police in Kentucky were charged with attempted murder, even if they didn’t hit anyone.
Brantner Smith and her organization have called for more transparency in the investigation, the Daily Mail reported.