FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:August 28, 2019
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
Jury Convicts Douglas Johnson, Jr. of Attempted Capital Murders in Shooting of Two Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputies
LEESBURG, Virginia – August 27, 2019. After a seven day trial, a Loudoun County jury found Douglas Johnson, Jr., 41, guilty of two charges of attempted capital murder for shooting two Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies on Christmas Eve 2017. The jury also convicted Johnson of nine other felonies including malicious wounding of the officers and multiple firearms charges related to the offenses.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy McMullen presented the case on behalf of the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. The trial concluded with the jury fixing Johnson’s sentence at seventy-four years in the Virginia Department of Corrections.
“It is reprehensible that anyone would attempt to murder the very people that protect our community every day. I applaud the bravery of our deputies and am pleased that the jury has held Johnson accountable for his actions,” said Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Nicole Wittmann.
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve 2017, three Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic violence call made by Johnson’s nineteen-year-old daughter that her father had been shoved her out of their home on Hollow Mountain Place. After interviewing Johnson, his daughter, and Johnson’s ex-wife, who also lived at the residence, the officers went to arrest Johnson. Johnson was in the primary bedroom of the residence and after being told he would be arrested became angry and began yelling at his family. The officers tried to deescalate the situation by speaking calmly with Johnson about the reasons for the arrest. As they were attempting to talk with Johnson, he dove into the bedroom closet, grabbing a loaded .45 caliber handgun that he had hidden earlier that afternoon under some clothing on a closet shelf. As the officers went into the closet to apprehend Johnson, he fired the .45 caliber handgun, three times, wounding Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Iversen and Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy Katherine Grimley. The deputies, despite their wounds along with the third deputy, Justin Nyce, were able to restrain Johnson and get the gun away from him. One of the deputies also deployed a Taser, an electrical incapacitation device at Johnson. None of the officers drew a firearm until after Johnson had begun shooting. The two wounded deputies were transported to Reston Hospital Center, where they were treated for multiple gunshot wounds. Both officers have returned to active duty with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.
“This was a violent situation where lives could have been lost,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. “I am proud of the actions and bravery of our deputies on that afternoon, and every day, and I am grateful for the successful prosecution by the Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. This sends a clear message that anyone who commits an assault on law enforcement will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Sheriff Chapman added.
During the course of the trial, the Commonwealth introduced the testimony of the wounded officers and the third deputy present, body-worn camera video of the incident, audio of the incident, and experts in the fields of firearms, Taser operation and the attending trauma surgeons at Reston Hospital. Johnson testified as part of the defense case and claimed that he had been trying to commit suicide and had not been conscious of firing the gun, due to the effects of being stunned by a Taser and the officers’ physical attempts to restrain him.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan noted to the jury that Johnson had said nothing about this being an attempt to commit suicide to the lead detective, Det. Michael A. Grimsley, in an interview only hours after the incident. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy McMullen told the jury that Johnson’s firing of his own gun at the officers was due to his anger at being arrested and his desire to control the situation.
Johnson’s case is currently set for December 13, 2019 in Loudoun County Circuit Court where a final sentencing hearing will be held before the Hon. James P. Fisher, who presided over the trial. Johnson continues to be held in custody without bond.