Galesburg, MI – A knife-wielding attacker was fatally shot by a Kalamazoo County sheriff’s sergeant after he repeatedly lunged at the officer with the blade during a confrontation outside a gas station early Monday morning (video below).
The incident began at approximately 2:36 a.m. on Oct. 4, when 22-year-old R.V. Johnson entered the Shell station convenience store and told the clerk to dial up 911 for him, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said during a press conference later that afternoon, according to WXMI.
The employee dialed 911 and handed Johnson the phone, at which point he told the dispatcher “that he needed somebody out there,” Sheriff Fuller said.
“One of our deputies was dispatched to what we would call a suspicious occurrence because nobody knew exactly what all was being requested or what was going on,” the sheriff said.
Unbeknownst to the lone sergeant who responded to the scene, Johnson was armed with a knife.
The suspect was already outside the store waiting for the sergeant when he pulled up in his patrol car, bodycam footage showed.
“It’s pretty evident in the beginning of the video that the officer doesn’t know that he’s going to be confronted and things happen fairly quickly,” Sheriff Fuller explained, according to MLive.
The sergeant exited his vehicle and immediately asked Johnson what was going on, the video showed.
Johnson held the knife out in front of him and jabbed it towards the sergeant.
“Back up,” Johnson ordered.
“What do you mean ‘back up?’” the sergeant asked.
Johnson stepped menacingly towards the sergeant, who backed away, drew his weapon, and ordered Johnson to put down the knife.
“County, send me another unit out here right now,” the sergeant calmly said over his radio. “I need people now. Subject with a knife.”
The sergeant held Johnson at gunpoint and warned him that he would shoot if he needed to, the video showed.
“Don’t f—king do it,” he warned the suspect.
When the sergeant radioed again for help, Johnson lunged towards him yet again before quickly backing away, the video showed.
“Don’t do it, dude. Don’t f—king do it – just put it down,” the sergeant implored.
Johnson turned sideways and began shuffling towards the sergeant with the knife still firmly gripped in his hand.
“Come on. Come on,” the suspect repeatedly taunted, lunging towards the sergeant before quickly stepping back.
The sergeant warned Johnson he would shoot him, but the suspect was undaunted.
“Don’t do it,” the sergeant warned once more, just before Johnson started rapidly shuffling towards him.
The sergeant fired his weapon and the suspect immediately collapsed to the ground, the video showed.
The sergeant quickly radioed “shots fired” and ordered Johnson to put the knife down before the clip ended.
The suspect died from his wounds at the scene, MLive reported.
“At the end of the day our goal is preservation of life and ultimately at the end of the day that is not what we are always able to do,” Sheriff Fuller told reporters, according to MLive. “This is a very tragic incident.”
“Our condolences go out to the family. We have been with the family this morning and I can tell you that they are suffering this loss,” the sheriff added. “This is very tragic and I would ask people to respect the family’s wishes and let them grieve right now.”
The sergeant, a 20-year veteran of the department, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Michigan State Police (MSP) investigation into the officer-involved shooting, MLive reported.
Sheriff Fuller said he does not believe the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) had ever dealt with Johnson prior to the encounter on Monday morning.
“This family did not go to bed last night expecting anything like this to happen,” the sheriff said, according to MLive. “Our deputies did not report to work expecting anything like this to happen.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: