SPOKANE, Wash. – Aaron Johnson was shot by police on May 2, 2016 at the West Wynn Hotel. On Wednesday, the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office determined the officer-involved shooting was justified.
Police said Johnson was also involved in an officer-involved shooting in 2014. Officers said their response would have been a lot different that day if they knew he had been in a similar situation before.
The call initially came in as a domestic violence call. Johnson called 911 and said someone was trying to kill him with a gun. Police quickly learned that was not true. As soon as officers approached Johnson’s motel room, they knew something was not right.
“He was there for another reason. When they saw him with the gun pointed at them,” said Lieutenant Steve Wohl.
Before arriving on scene, officers knew Johnson had a misdemeanor warrant, was a violent offender and that his driving privileges were suspended. However, they did not know Johnson was involved in an officer-involved shooting and had been shot by police in 2014 outside Truth Ministries.
If officers knew about Johnson’s past, Spokane Police said more officers would have responded to the call initially and things would have been handled differently to better protect everyone involved.
Due to the incident on May 2, police are now working to create a better database that would give officers more information before they respond.
“One of the recommendations is to look for radio being able to say this person had been involved in a previous encounter, violent encounter with police or with civilians. So, that kind of gives us an idea of what to expect, at least knowledge as we go into that call,” said Wohl.
The idea is that if police know the name of the suspect involved, dispatch would be able to pull up their past history and relay the information to officers so they have a better idea of what they should expect.
Spokane Police do not have an exact timeline of when the database might be up and running, but said they are currently working on it.