No Charges For Officers After Police Shoot Suspect Armed With Knife

Jul 5, 2019

Updated: 11:10 p.m., Saturday

A Cincinnati Police officer shot a suspect who was "acting erratically and armed with a knife" at Bramble Park in Madisonville Thursday. Police Chief Eliot Isaac says the man who called 911 is the man who was ultimately contacted by police and wounded. The Hamilton County prosecutor says the officer acted heroically.

At about 10:20 a.m. Thursday, Isaac says 23-year-old Devin Johnson called 911 to report a man with a knife "going crazy" in the park. Investigators say Johnson gave the dispatcher a description of himself.

Two officers, Al Brown and Kevin Brown, responded to the park and encountered the suspect in the parking lot. Isaac says Johnson approached them carrying the knife. "Both officers gave multiple commands to drop the knife, which the individual refused. He continued to ignore the officers' commands and deliberately walked directly at Officer Al Brown while still holding the butcher knife in his hand."

Isaac says Brown retreated and when Johnson closed the gap, "Officer Al Brown reacted to the threat and discharged his service weapon three times, striking the individual."

He says Johnson underwent surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he is listed Saturday morning in critical but stable condition.

Isaac says Johnson has no criminal record, and could not comment on his state of mind. 

Johnson is charged with felonious assault and aggravated menacing.

The investigation includes the officers' body camera video. The Hamilton County prosecutor's office reviewed the tape to determine if it was a legitimate use of force. Prosecutor Joe Deters says "it is absolutely clear that the officers acted appropriately and followed their training."

In a statement released Saturday morning, Deters continues, "They had no choice but to shoot." 

The video could be released to the public Saturday afternoon.

Isaac says he has seen the footage. "A knife is a deadly weapon. An officer absolutely has a right to defend himself and defend those around them. I think that the officers did what they had to do in this situation. They responded to their training and from what I am able determine at this point, they are very much within the guidelines," he says.

Isaac says this is the first officer-involved shooting in Cincinnati since September 2018.