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Harris County Grand Jury declines to indict deputy in shooting

April 30, 2021

A Harris County grand jury on Friday declined to indict a sheriff’s deputy for the 2020 fatal shooting of Missouri City resident Joshua Johnson.

“As with all officer-involved shootings, we presented all of the evidence to a grand jury and gave parties the opportunity to come forward to testify,” District Attorney Kim Ogg said.

“The grand jury handed down a no-bill, declining to charge anyone with a crime. We appreciate the grand jurors who considered this case, and we respect their decision,” she added.

The case was thoroughly and independently reviewed by the Civil Rights Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which went to the scene of the shooting the morning it happened, and also hired a ballistics expert.

State law mandates that all grand jury proceedings are secret, including what was presented and what was discussed by grand jurors.

Evidence can include reports, recordings, records testimony by witnesses and an array of other material as needed to ensure grand jurors know all they can about a case, so they can make an informed decision on whether there is sufficient evidence for a criminal charge.

Johnson, 35, was shot by a sheriff’s deputy on a stakeout in the 15000 block of East Ritter Circle at about 6:00 a.m. on April 22, 2020.

The deputy was working with the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force to try to find a capital murder suspect from Dallas who was believed to be in the neighborhood.

According to the plain-clothed officer, Johnson approached the deputy’s unmarked black SUV with his cellphone flashlight and a pistol, later found to be a BB gun.  Johnson tapped on the deputy’s window and the officer pulled his gun. The deputy lowered his window and told Johnson to put down his pistol. Instead, Johnson raised the weapon and the deputy fired multiple times from his car.

Johnson ran away but was mortally wounded and died in a nearby driveway. The deputy was not wearing a body camera.

Ogg stressed that the Civil Rights Division probe was thorough.

“Every bit of evidence was presented to grand jurors for their consideration,” she said. “We left no stone unturned; a grand jury is the civilian review board of the justice system and they have the power of subpoena to review everything.”