Fairfax Co. Police fire officer involved in deadly shooting outside Tysons Corner Center
TYSONS, Va. - Fairfax County Police announced on Thursday that one of the officers involved in the deadly shooting of a man alleged to have stole a pair of sunglasses from a store at Tysons Corner Center in February has been fired.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis made the announcement during a press conference to release body camera video of the incident. Chief Davis says that the officer was issued an administrative separation notice on Thursday, terminating their employment with the department.
Davis added that another officer involved in the shooting has been placed on modified restricted duty.
On Feb. 22 around 6:13 p.m., a man later identified as Timothy Johnson, 37, of D.C., entered the Nordstrom at Tysons Corner Center. A Nordstrom Asset Protection associate observed Johnson pick up designer sunglasses from a display.
At 6:23 p.m., Nordstrom Asset Protection called Fairfax County Police's Tysons Urban Team who responded to the store. An officer observed Johnson near an anti-theft alarm inside the store when it was activated. Johnson turned and walked towards the parking garage exit.
Moments later, an officer observed Johnson set off a second alarm as he left the store near the parking garage. Officers followed Johnson into the parking garage and observed him go down the stairwell.
Two officers chased Johnson as he exited the parking garage stairwell, ran through the parking garage and towards Route 7. Officers continued to pursue as Johnson changed direction and ran across Fashion Boulevard towards a wooded area.
While following Johnson into the wood line, both officers discharged their firearms. Johnson was struck in the chest one time. Officers rendered aid until fire and rescue personnel arrived.
Johnson later succumbed to his injuries and died at a local hospital.
Johnson’s family viewed the body camera video for the first time Wednesday at the invitation of police. The lawyer for the Johnson family called the death "an execution" after seeing the video and said nothing in it shows anything to explain why officers would have reasonably feared for their lives when they opened fire.
"If the video would have exonerated the officer, we would have seen it already," attorney Carl Crews said. He called Johnson's death "an execution by a Fairfax County police officer."
"He could have been apprehended without a shot being fired," Crews said.
Johnson's mother, Melissa Johnson of Forestville, Maryland, spoke with reporters outside police headquarters Wednesday after having just watched the eight-minute body camera video.
"No parent should have to view the killing of their child and then be asked to give remarks," she said. "However, here we are, and here I stand."
Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano released the following statement regarding the footage showing Johnson’s death.
"I have seen and am devastated by the body-worn camera footage showing yet another death of a Black man at the hands of police. My heart grieves for the Johnsons, who lost a beloved family member over an incident involving a pair of sunglasses. Like many members of our community, I sincerely hope to see the day when police shootings are a thing of the past.
As the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney, it is my responsibility to proceed with a comprehensive and independent investigation of this incident, and that’s what I’ve been doing since the night of February 22nd. I expect to make a decision on how best to proceed in the coming weeks."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.