Morehouse Parish grand jury declines indictment in fatal officer-involved shooting

BASTROP, La. (KNOE) - A grand jury in Morehouse Parish has determined that officers' actions in a deadly Bastrop shooting were "reasonable and justified by law."

Police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting in Bastrop. / Source: KNOE

22-year-old Thomas Johnson was killed by Bastrop police on March 19, 2019. Right after the shooting, Louisiana State Police told KNOE that someone called the Bastrop Police Department about a man with a gun in an SUV near the old H.V. Adams Elementary School on Kammell Street. Around 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, police found a matching vehicle with a driver sitting inside. LSP said the suspect got out of the car and shots were fired.

A news release sent to KNOE Thursday afternoon by District Attorney Steve Tew's office says the following:

"On March 19, 2019, two (2) officers with the Bastrop Police Department responded to two (2) separate complaints of an aggravated assault with a firearm at Eden Apartments in Bastrop, Louisiana. The suspect, Thomas D. Johnson, III, when located by officers was armed with a loaded 40 cal. semi-automatic handgun with an extended clip. He disobeyed an officer's commands to drop the firearm, resisted arrest and he was fatally shot. Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division immediately responded to this incident and conducted an extensive, independent and thorough investigation. In line with the policy of the District Attorney's Office, this matter was presented to a Morehouse Parish Grand Jury, which determined the officers' actions and conduct were reasonable and justified by law."

Investigators didn't say that Johnson fired at police. They said he took off running. They also said that a gun was found on the scene the next day. They said several shell casings were spread out across a scene that spans roughly 200 yards. Friends and witnesses disputed that Johnson had a gun.