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Medical Examiner report released in shooting death of Dion Johnson

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Posted at 2:18 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 17:18:07-04

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office has released its report in the May 25 shooting death of Dion Johnson.

The Medical Examiner reports that 28-year-old Dion Johnson died in a homicide from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The report also confirms that Johnson had a .154 blood alcohol concentration, as well as methamphetamine and marijuana in his system at the time of his death.

Johnson's death happened the same day as George Floyd's death in Minnesota, and sparked protests locally as his family asked for transparency in the DPS-involved shooting.

According to the Department of Public Safety, Trooper George Cervantes found Johnson passed out in his car, which was blocking part of the on-ramp to the Loop 101 near Tatum Boulevard. The trooper says the first thing he did was remove a handgun that he saw on the passenger seat of the car and take it back to his motorcycle.

Cervantes also noted open alcohol containers in the car, according to dispatch audio. DPS says the trooper had planned to wait for backup before trying to wake Johnson, and was waiting at his motorcycle.

According to a police report issued in July, after the gun was removed, the trooper "noticed Mr. Johnson moving around, so he returned to the vehicle and attempted to arrest Mr. Johnson." That is when the physical altercation began.

Moments later on dispatch audio, the trooper says "shots fired.”

Cervantes told police that he had his gun in his right hand when Johnson grabbed his wrist during the struggle and pulled him into the vehicle. Cervantes claims Johnson was fighting with him and that he was positioned in a way that he could be kicked backward, directly into oncoming traffic. He says he feared for his life during the fight and subsequently shot Johnson.

According to the ME report, Johnson was alive and able to give his name at the hospital but his condition “rapidly declined.” Johnson eventually went into cardiac arrest and did not survive.

The investigation into whether or not Cervantes was justified in shooting Johnson has been forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney's office for review.