MILLIS (CBS/AP) — An arrest warrant was issued Friday for the Millis police officer who investigators say made up a claim that a gunman fired at his cruiser before it crashed into a tree and caught on fire.
The officer, Bryan Johnson, 24, is facing charges of misleading a criminal investigation, communicating false information to emergency services, malicious destruction of property and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
It was initially thought he would be arraigned on Friday in Wrentham District Court. But instead, Johnson is at Norwood Hospital for a psychological evaluation. He will be arrested immediately after his release. He is expected to be in the hospital for six to eight days.
According to court documents, Johnson said he started telling the truth the third time investigators interviewed him. He told them he fired his personal gun three times at his police vehicle. He then drove on Forest Road. He reported “blacking out” before driving his cruiser off the road. Johnson said the vehicle was on fire and filling with smoke. He said he left the vehicle and then fired his service weapon three times across the street.
He told investigators the truth was “incredibly embarrassing.”
According to the police report, Johnson made up the story about the shooting because he was afraid of losing his job.
“It’s a very disturbing situation,” Millis police Sgt. William Dwyer said at a news conference announcing the charges.
Johnson was officially fired from the department Friday afternoon.
Johnson was hired in June as a permanent intermittent police officer for the town.
“It’s basically a training ground for those going into full-time law enforcement,” Dwyer said.
Johnson previously worked as a dispatcher and was scheduled to begin training soon as a full-time officer.
After the shooting was reported Wednesday afternoon, people were asked to remain inside for several hours as police, including SWAT team officers, scoured the wooded neighborhood near Forest Road for the reported gunman. Schools were closed Thursday as a precaution.
But a day after the incident, Dwyer said ballistic testing determined that the only bullets found at the scene belonged to Johnson.
Dwyer said an investigation found the officer “fired shots at his own cruiser as a part of a plan to concoct a story that he was fired upon.”
After several interviews with Johnson and examining the evidence, police determined that his story that a man in a pickup truck had fired at his cruiser was untrue, Dwyer said.
“Something did go wrong,” Dwyer told WBZ-TV Friday. “I’m not sure, I’m not a professional, I can’t tell you exactly what’s gone wrong, but I know there’s something wrong. He was a good police officer. He was a good person. He was a good dispatcher.”
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