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Officer Shot In Face By Suspect Who Was Out On PR Bond Will Not Survive

Charleston, WV – The suspect accused of shooting Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson in the face on Tuesday is a repeat offender who was out on a personal recognizance bond for another offense at the time of the attack, according to police.

Officer Johnson, 28, will not survive her wounds, Charleston Police Department (CPD) James “Tyke” Hunt confirmed early Wednesday evening, according to WBOY.

“She is still fighting, but her body is unable to sustain life by itself,” Chief Hunt explained.

Officer Johnson, an organ donor, was removed from life support at approximately 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, WBOY reported.

Her mother, Sheryl, addressed the community during a prayer vigil held at Laidley Field later that evening, WSAZ reported.

Sheryl said her daughter was always one who chose to do what was right.

“But I never dreamed until this happened how many people in this community loved her,” she said, breaking into tears. “And that means more to me than anything in this world.”

Sheryl said Officer Johnson loved the city of Charleston.

“She loved her job, and she tried to protect everybody,” the grieving mother said. “I love my daughter.”

Police identified the suspect accused of shooting her in the face as 38-year-old Joshua Marcellus Phillips, WCHS reported.

Investigators believe he was hit when Officer Johnson returned fire, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Sergeant Brian Humphreys said, according to WCHS.

Phillips remained hospitalized in unknown condition on Wednesday night.

Investigators have not announced what charges he will face for allegedly shooting Officer Johnson.

According to police, Phillips was out of jail on a personal recognizance bond at the time of the attack, WCHS reported.

The prior offense stemmed from a Jan. 20 incident, during which Phillips allegedly assaulted a man with a gun.

Phillips fled the scene in a red Dodge Durango prior to officers’ arrival, but was later pulled over by Charleston police.

Officers determined his license had been revoked since 2016 due to a DUI offense, WCHS reported.

Phillips was charged for driving on a revoked license, as well as for four unpaid citations he had pending from other matters, according to police.

According to magistrate court records, he was released on a personal recognizance bond for the January offense, and his case is still pending, WCHS reported.

Phillips was also charged with brandishing in June of 2019, after police received reports of a disturbance between him and several of his neighbors.

A 62-year-old neighbor told police that he had gone over to Phillips’ home to talk to him after Phillips lit fireworks off next the man’s house, WCHS reported.

Phillips allegedly stormed outside carrying an AK-47, according to the victim.

The neighbor told police Phillips made verbal threats and racked the weapon during the confrontation, WCHS reported.

The case was dismissed in July, after the victim failed to show up to a court hearing.

Prosecutors also noted that the case was over one year old at the time, WCHS reported.

The attack on Officer Johnson occurred in the 200-block of Garrison Avenue at about 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 1, as she was handling a parking complaint, WCHS reported.

Details regarding what occurred in the moments prior to Officer Johnson being shot in the face have not been released.

The alleged gunman fled the scene in a red Dodge Durango just before 3 p.m., according to WOWK.

Phillips was apprehended by police at a second location on Garrison Avenue, WCHS reported.

Over 70 law enforcement officers responded to the scene to help Officer Johnson.

Many more gathered at the hospital to support her and her family in the hours that followed.

Officer Johnson underwent surgery late Tuesday afternoon, WOWK reported.

The KCSO is handling the ongoing investigation into the shooting.

Officer Johnson worked as a humane officer with the city prior to joining the Charleston Police Department (CPD) on Jan. 11, 2019, WOWK reported.

After her swearing-in ceremony nearly two years ago, Officer Johnson told reporters that becoming a law enforcement officer had been a longtime goal for her.

“It’s been a dream of mine for a while and I am happy to see it come to fruition,” she told WOWK at the time. “I’ve been working extremely hard over the last year to get ready for it. I am really happy to finally getting to follow my dreams in working with Charleston PD.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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