ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix police release report of DPS shooting that killed Dion Johnson

Jul 15, 2020, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

(KTAR News 92.3 FM Photo/Gabriel Gamiño)...

(KTAR News 92.3 FM Photo/Gabriel Gamiño)

(KTAR News 92.3 FM Photo/Gabriel Gamiño)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department on Wednesday released an incident report documenting the investigation into an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper’s fatal shooting of Dion Johnson.

Johnson, a 28-year-old Black man, died after being shot by 15-year veteran and trooper George Cervantes at the Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard on May 25 — the same day Minnesotan George Floyd died in police custody.

The incident report provides Cervantes’ account of the incident as well as that of other law enforcement and emergency personnel.

On the morning of the shooting, Cervantes told investigators he was on his way to meet DPS Trooper Neil Osborn at the 64th Street exit of the Loop 101 where they frequently began their shifts.

Before meeting Osborn, Cervantes spotted Johnson’s gray Toyota Prius stopped at the east end of the Tatum Boulevard on-ramp to the Loop 101.

Observing the vehicle to be partially obstructing traffic in an unsafe location, Cervantes began approaching the vehicle, unsure if it was occupied or abandoned.

After parking his motorcycle behind the car and informing radio dispatch of the situation, Cervantes told investigators he observed a male in the vehicle who was not moving.

Upon opening the unlocked front passenger door, Cervantes said he smelled alcohol and witnessed beer cans in the car.

The trooper also reported seeing a key in the ignition along with a semi-automatic handgun in the passenger seat — which he then removed and placed in his motorcycle’s saddlebag.

Noticing that Johnson had begun to move about, Cervantes decided to effect the arrest to prevent him from driving away and presenting an additional hazard.

Cervantes was able to handcuff Johnson’s left wrist, after which a struggle ensued. The trooper claimed Johnson had tried to reach the gun on the passenger seat. Cervantes then drew his firearm and threatened twice to shoot Johnson if he continued to resist arrest.

At that point, Johnson appeared to relax.

Cervantes said he then retracted his gun and planned to re-holster it when Johnson suddenly grabbed his right hand — which was still holding the firearm.

Fearing that Johnson would be able to gain control of his weapon, Cervantes fired two shots amid the struggle.

After Johnson had been struck in the abdomen, Osborn arrived on scene.

In statements to investigators, Osborn corroborated the odor of alcohol. He also described Johnson as uncooperative though not violent toward he and Cervantes.

After a minor struggle, the troopers were able to remove Johnson from the vehicle. They then handcuffed him, called for medical backup and realized the gunshot wound was more serious than had been originally assessed.

Medical personnel then arrived and took Johnson to a local hospital where he died.

Last week, the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office both confirmed that the investigation into Dion Johnson’s death was submitted to Metro Phoenix prosecutors on Tuesday.

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday that while she understands both the community and law enforcement’s need for answers, she won’t make a knee-jerk decision for the sake of a finding a speedy resolution to the case.

Though Adel has asked for the case to be prioritized, MCAO spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer told KTAR News 92.3 FM in a statement that there is currently no timeline for a charging decision.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of a Phoenix Police SUV parked next to yellow crime scene tape. Police responded to rPol...

KTAR.com

Woman killed, man injured in crash in north Phoenix

A woman was killed and a man was injured in a two-vehicle collision in north Phoenix on Wednesday afternoon.

5 hours ago

Honduran woman sentenced to over 10 years for human smuggling...

Nick Borgia

Leader of Arizona human smuggling operation sentenced to 10 years in prison

A Honduran woman was sentenced to 10 years of prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to human smuggling, authorities said.

6 hours ago

Four Republican candidates looking to unseat Greg Stanton in Arizona Congressional District 4 debat...

KTAR.com

Watch: Arizona Congressional District 4 Republican primary debate

Four Republican candidates looking to unseat Greg Stanton in Arizona Congressional District 4 debate on May 29 ahead of the primary.

9 hours ago

Aliyah Alpert was eliminated in the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 29, 2024...

Danny Shapiro

Arizona girl bows out in semifinals of Scripps National Spelling Bee

An Arizona girl was close to her second Scripps National Spelling Bee finals appearance, but she fell just short on Wednesday.

10 hours ago

Alexander Jr.'s sentencing will be held on August 14, 2024....

KTAR.com

Tennessee man convicted on sex trafficking charges after arrest in Arizona

A Tennessee man was convicted on sex trafficking charges after he was arrested in Arizona, authorities said Wednesday. 

11 hours ago

Scottsdale fatal DUI suspect Gloria Schulze disappeared from Scottsdale for more than 20 years. (Sc...

Danny Shapiro

Here’s why a 30-year-old fatal Scottsdale DUI case has come to a conclusion

A 30-year-old fatal Scottsdale DUI case has come to a close after detectives determined last month a suspect who had been on the run and changed her name died in Canada.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Phoenix police release report of DPS shooting that killed Dion Johnson