State: Gun, casings found at St. Paul police shooting scene

Minnesota investigators say that video appears to show an exchange of gunfire between a St. Paul police officer and a man who was killed during an apparent carjacking attempt

ByThe Associated Press
December 7, 2022, 6:54 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota investigators said Wednesday that video appears to show an exchange of gunfire between a St. Paul police officer and a man who was killed during an apparent carjacking attempt.

Howard Johnson, 24, of St. Paul, was fatally shot by the officer Monday evening after police responded to a domestic assault call and a report of a man with a gun, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner said Johnson died of a gunshot wound.

The officer who shot Johnson was identified Wednesday as Sgt. Cody Blanshan, who has a decade of law enforcement experience.

Johnson's family members and members of the community are calling for the quick release of video evidence.

“I want justice for my child. I want justice for all the Black men that that have been killed by police,” Monique Johnson said at a Wednesday news conference. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that she said she wants video from body cameras, squad cars and surveillance cameras, adding: "I deserve to know what happened to him.”

According to state investigators, Johnson ran from the site of the alleged domestic assault before officers arrived. Blanshan and another officer were in a squad car as part of a police perimeter. Nearby, a woman got into her car after leaving a business and was starting to drive away when “Johnson approached her vehicle and was pointing a gun at her," the BCA said.

Surveillance video shows the squad car hit Johnson in the back and side, and pushed him behind the other vehicle, knocking him to the ground. Johnson got up and the “video appears to show an exchange of gunfire between him and Blanshan, during which Johnson was struck,” the BCA said. “He fell to the ground, dropping his gun. Officers then handcuffed him and gave medical aid until EMS arrived.”

He was taken to a hospital where he later died.

State investigators said several bullet casings were recovered from the scene — including 10 that are consistent with the officer’s 9 mm gun and three other casings from a .45 caliber handgun. Investigators said a .45 caliber Glock pistol was also recovered, but authorities did not say say that this gun and the bullet casings were a match.

State investigators say there is surveillance, body camera and squad camera footage that captured portions of the incident, and it is being reviewed as part of the investigation.

Johnson had been convicted in recent years of felony domestic abuse and fleeing from police. Family members say he was the father of 4-year-old twins.

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