The Fairfax County police officer who shot and killed a man suspected of shoplifting near Tysons Corner Center in February was fired Thursday, the same day body-worn camera footage from the shooting was released.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis announced the firing at the same Thursday news conference where the footage was shown.
Davis said the officer who fired the round that killed DC resident Timothy Johnson on February 22, Sgt. Wesley Shifflett, displayed “a failure to live up to the expectations of our agency, in particular use of force policies,” according to The Associated Press.
The second officer involved is on restricted duty while the investigation continues.
“More often than not the police body camera footage speaks for itself,” Davis said. “This time, it does not.”
Footage released by police Thursday showed Johnson enter the Nordstrom at the mall shortly after 6 p.m. He then appeared to take two pairs of sunglasses off the store rack.
According to police, Nordstrom’s security alerted officers assigned to the mall, and a plainclothes officer saw Johnson near an alarm inside the store when it went off.
Johnson then headed for the parking garage. Police said a plainclothes officer saw him set off a second alarm as he went through it and exited the store near the parking garage.
Two plainclothes officers followed Johnson and chased him on foot as he left the parking garage stairwell and headed toward Route 7.
Johnson eventually changed direction and ran across Fashion Boulevard toward a wooded area.
One of the officers can be heard saying, “Going into the woods.” Then: “Get on the ground. Get on the ground.” Two shots can be heard in quick succession. One of the officers is heard saying, “Stop reaching” as another gunshot rings out. Given how dark the footage is, it’s difficult to discern any details.
Police said both officers fired their guns. Johnson was struck once in the chest.
“Shots fired,” an officer can be heard saying into his radio.
Johnson was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Associated Press reported that no weapon was found in the wooded area when police searched it. Further, Johnson had no criminal record in Fairfax County, according to court records, though the police chief called Johnson someone with a “significant violent criminal history” right after the shooting.
The police chief apologized for that during the news conference.
“I should have answered it with much greater sensitivity than I did,” Davis said.
Charges have not been filed against the officers involved. According to The Associated Press, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano is reviewing the case and will make a decision soon.
The body worn-camera footage is availble here (Note: Some viewers may find the footage disturbing).
Featured image courtesy YouTube/Fairfax County Police Department
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