Louisville, KY – The gunman who shot two Louisville police officers during riots after a grand jury refused to indict the officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor pleaded guilty on Monday to multiple counts of assault and wanton endangerment.
Protests began in Louisville in November of 2020 just moments after it was announced that a Jefferson County grand jury had indicted only one of the three Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) officers who were involved in the raid at Taylor’s home, WLKY reported.
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 whom 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.
Hankison was acquitted by a jury on March 3.
Prosecutors said 26-year-old Larynzo Johnson opened fire on officers doing crowd control during the riots at about 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, 2020, 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.
The wounded officers were identified 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.
Johnson was indicted on two counts of assault in the first degree and 33 counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree, WLKY reported.
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.
The Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office announced in a press release on Tuesday that Johnson had pleaded guilty on March 7 to two counts of assault and 33 counts of wanton endangerment in connection with the shooting of Maj. Gregory and Officer Desroches, WHAS reported.
Johnson was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years for each count of assault and five years for each count of wanton endangerment, which could have resulted in the attempted cop killer spending the rest of his life in prison.
But the judge took the commonwealth attorney’s office’s recommended that Johnson be allowed to serve his terms concurrently, WHAS reported.
The prosecutor’s office said Johnson has to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole.