A 28-year-old West Virginia police officer, who was shot in the face earlier this week during a minor traffic complaint, succumbed to her injuries Thursday afternoon. Charleston Police Patrolman Cassie Johnson was taken off life support after the department’s police chief said she wasn’t going to survive her injuries, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
“To say we are heartbroken is an understatement,” said Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “We are at a loss because we have lost one of our sisters in blue.”
Goodwin immediately ordered all flags to fly at half-staff, and the city is now preparing a hero’s funeral service at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
Johnson, who had been with the Charleston Police Department for less than two years, had been responding to a parking complaint on Tuesday afternoon. A resident alleged that the suspect, now identified as 38-year-old Joshua Phillips parked his car in a driveway that wasn’t his, sheriff’s office spokesperson Sgt. Brian Humphreys told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Phillips was alone, and reportedly entered the home across the street from where he had been parked. He then left the home by himself, which is when police say Johnson had approached him by his car and a confrontation ensued.
Investigators believe Johnson had pulled her gun first, but it is not clear who shot first. Johnson shot Phillips twice in the torso, Humphreys said. Phillips allegedly shot Johnson in the face with his own firearm.
Johnson was rushed to Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital and, despite Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt initially announcing to reporters that “she’s not out of the woods but she is going to be recovering,” he said the following day, “With a heavy heart, I hate to say she is not going to be able to pull through this. She is still fighting but her body is unable to sustain life by itself.”
A GoFundMe made in honor of Goodwin has raised nearly $50,000 – succeeding its initial goal of $20,000.
Phillips continues to be hospitalized, and police say charges against him are still pending.