PARKERSBURG - A man remained in critical condition Wednesday, a day after he was shot by Parkersburg Police after allegedly refusing to put down his gun.
Christopher Paul Johnson, 42, of 2503 Lincoln Ave., Parkersburg, was taken by medical helicopter to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown from Camden Clark Medical Center's Memorial Campus Tuesday. A hospital spokeswoman updated his condition Wednesday afternoon.
Johnson was shot at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Plum Street after his 2003 Ford Expedition was stopped by a Parkersburg Police cruiser driven by Officer M.L. Bosley and an unmarked vehicle driven by Lt. G.D. Nangle. Parkersburg Police say Johnson exited his vehicle and drew a gun, pointing it at Nangle.
After he ignored commands to put the weapon down, the officers shot at him multiple times, police said.
"We believe he was shot four times," said West Virginia State Police Lt. Michael Baylous.
The State Police are investigating the shooting, and Parkersburg Police are conducting their own internal review to make sure all policies and procedures were followed.
Baylous said he was not aware at this point whether Johnson fired his own weapon, but added the issue is whether he presented a threat to the officers, which does not require him to have shot first.
"I'm not aware of any police department that has a policy that you have to be shot at first before you can return fire, so it's kind of irrelevant," he said.
The Parkersburg Police Department's deadly force policy states that "an officer may use deadly force to protect themself or others from what they reasonably believe to be an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or others." Chief Joe Martin said Tuesday that the review is standard procedure, but he believes the officers acted properly and he supports them "100 percent."
Nangle is commander of Parkersburg's Detective Bureau and a 20-year veteran of the city police department. Bosley has been on the force nine years.
Both officers have been reassigned to administrative duties while the investigation is conducted and to allow them to be evaluated and cleared for duty.
The use of deadly force is "part of the job that most officers hope they never have to encounter," Martin said. "We kind of take for granted that we're safe, we can handle ourselves and people respect authority."
Martin said Johnson could face multiple charges, including federal counts based on him being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Johnson was convicted of aggravated robbery in 1993, sentenced to 10 years in prison and released in December 1996, Martin said. He also has convictions of driving under the influence and third-offense shoplifting, a felony, on his record.
Johnson was wanted on a warrant for a felony charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance when plainclothes detectives approached him in the area of Andrew and Bird streets in Parkersburg Tuesday. He drew a gun on one of the officers and fled.
Bosley spotted his vehicle on Plum Street a few minutes later, and he and Nangle initiated the traffic stop.
Martin said he appreciates the support community members have shown the department in the wake of the incident, demonstrating an understanding of the situation the officers faced.
"We appreciate the public's support, cause it's reassuring," especially to the officers involved, he said.