Olmsted Deputy Cleared of Charges From Planet Fitness Shooting
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Olmsted County Deputy Sheriff involved in a recent shooting will not face criminal charges.
Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem says he made the determination after a thorough review of the "event reports and recordings" related to the December 14th incident in the parking lot of the Planet Fitness location in southeast Rochester. That included a statement given by Deputy Sean Cooper, who indicated he believed that he and other deputies faced "imminent harm" when he fired a single shot from his handgun.
The shooting occurred while the deputy and other members of the Sheriff's Office warrant team were attempting to arrest 38-year-old Jesse James Johnson on a felony complaint warrant for second-degree assault and other charges that included being a felon in possession of a firearm. The statement issued by County Attorney Ostrem concerning the case indicates Deputy Cooper obtained information indicating Johnson was in the vicinity of the Planet Fitness business and the warrants team located his vehicle in the parking lot to the south of the building.
After observing a person in the vehicle matching Johnson's description, Deputy Cooper and other members of the warrants team attempted to use law enforcement vehicles to "box in" Johnson to prevent his escape and activated their emergency lights when they were in position. Ostrem's statement says Cooper and another team member then exited their vehicles and were moving in to apprehend Johnson with their weapons drawn when Johnson put his car in reverse and rammed into the squad cars.
That's when Deputy Cooper fired a single shot from his handgun at the vehicle, which then sped forward over concrete parking bumpers, across the sidewalk, and out of the parking lot. Other members of the warrants team attempted to pursue Johnson's vehicle but he managed to elude them. Ostrem says a review of body camera video recordings shows the entire sequence of events lasted only 10 seconds.
At the last report, Johnson was still being sought by authorities.