Johnson involved in domestic dispute before shooting

October 30, 2013 • Local News

The Roswell Police Department has released updated information about an officer-involved shooting.

According to a press release: “A man, later identified as Richard Johnson (35), opened the apartment door, produced a handgun and was shot.

“New information from the investigation concludes, Roswell Police Department Sgt. Cruz Zavala was not struck by gunfire as originally thought; however, he did sustain injuries [auth] during the incident.

“..Prior to (the) officer-involved shooting, Johnson was involved in a domestic dispute with a relative. During the domestic incident, Johnson discharged a weapon three separate times.

“Detectives have obtained sufficient probable cause and have secured an arrest warrant for Richard Johnson for aggravated assault on a peace officer, aggravated assault and three counts of negligent use of a deadly weapon.”

The RPD says that only one officer discharged his weapon. The investigation submitted criminal complaint against Richard Johnson, who was shot during an officer-involved shooting Wednesday afternoon.

According to the affidavit of criminal complaint at 9:30 p.m.: “the police were notified that Sgt. Cruz Zavala had been struck by gunfire.”

The document listed as present at the scene of the incident as Zavala, Officer Joe Lannoye and Officer R. Swantek.

An Officer Juarez called to request an ambulance for Johnson’s wife, who was in a state of shock.

The Daily Bulletin mentioned Officer Joe Smith who came to investigate. The RPD release mentions Officer G. Longberg.

The court document states the police responded to a call of a disorderly and intoxicated subject: “he (Johnson) produced a handgun and was shot by officers. … It was believed Mr. Johnson was in surgery or was flown to Lubbock for treatment.”

The record indicates that the incident stemmed from a dispute with a family member. The family member stated that Johnson shot at him and fired one round in the passenger side of the vehicle.

Johnson pulled into the parking lot at Way Maker Church and asked the family member to shoot him and then threatened to shoot himself. The family member struck Johnson on the back of the head two times with a revolver, drawing blood.

In his statement to the tri-agency team, Zavala reported he received notification from the front desk at the RPD that a man, who had blood on his face, wanted to report a battery. The police were too busy to respond.

Later, an Officer Basinas contacted Johnson’s family member, who said Johnson had been shot at the Way Maker Church.

According to the affidavit, Zavala said that he, Lannoye and Swantek went to the Town Plaza Apartments, where a man came charging out of the apartment with a small chrome gun. Zavala said he heard gunfire and a fire extinguisher blew up. When asked if Johnson shot a gun, Zavala reported that he heard gunfire, but could not say if Johnson discharged his weapon. Zavala denied firing his weapon.

A subsequent search revealed live rounds near Way Maker Church and one spent shell casing. A projectile lodged in a cabinet and .38 Special was located inside the apartment. A search of the vehicle yielded a revolver and a rifle and some ammunition.

Assault is defined under New Mexico law as: attempting to commit a battery upon someone else, threatening or displaying menacing conduct which causes the alleged victim to reasonably believe they will be subject to battery, or using assaulting language to another which might harm his honor or his reputation.

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