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Man accused of shooting 2 cops during KY riots facing assault charges, not attempted murder

People protest the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case on September 23, 2020 in Denver, United States. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images/TNS)
November 19, 2020

A man who allegedly shot two police officers in Louisville, Ky., during the Breonna Taylor riots faced 35 charges Monday morning, none of which were attempted murder.

Larynzo Johnson, 26, was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of assault in the first degree and 33 counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree, WLKY reported.

The court’s decision not to charge a man who tried to kill two police officers with attempted murder sparked outrage and criticism nationwide, including remarks from the National Police Association.

“A police officer shot in the gut, and a police officer shot in the hip, in the middle of violent riots and looting would indicate to me that that should be – at a minimum – attempted murder,” National Police Association Spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired police sergeant, told the Daily Mail.

Brantner Smith pointed out that the affidavit of Johnson’s arrest said he “intentionally used a handgun to fire multiple bullets at officers.”

“I don’t know why that wouldn’t be at least, with the one officer shot in the gut, attempted murder,” she said.

Earlier this year, demonstrations broke out in Louisville following an announcement that a Jefferson County grand jury indicted one of the three Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers involved in the raid at Breonna Taylor’s residence in March.

LMPD Officer Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into an apartment next door. The neighboring apartment was occupied by three people, including a pregnant woman and a child.

None of the officers who fired shots after Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire were indicted.

The Courier-Journal reported that persecutors said Johnson opened fire on officers working crowd control in the midst of the Breonna Taylor riots around 8:30 p.m. on September 23 close to Broadway and Brook street.

Court documents showed witnesses identified Johnson as the shooter who fired during the demonstration before fleeing the scene on foot, WDRB reported. Police reportedly apprehended Johnson within minutes of the shooting.

Jeffrey Cooke, Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney, said the charges were filed by the arresting officers according to their best judgment, but the prosecutor ultimately decided the charges.

“Ordinarily if someone intentionally shoots at someone with a firearm and hits them the shooter would be charged with Assault in the First Degree. Depending on the facts, Attempted Murder could also be charged,” Cooke claimed.

However, according to The Police Tribune, records indicated those who fired at police in Kentucky were charged with attempted murder most of the time, even if they didn’t strike their target.