Mother of DC man killed by Virginia police on suspicion of theft demands ‘the truth’

The mother of a Washington man suspected of shoplifting who was fatally shot by two police officers last week says her son was unarmed when he was killed and is demanding “the truth” come out.

Timothy McCree Johnson, 37, was a father of two who loved fashion and designing clothes and wanted to go to barber school to rebuild his life after his service, said his mother, Melissa Johnson.

He previously pleaded guilty to theft and assault and was convicted of federal weapons charges.

Timothy Johnson with his two children.Courtesy Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson is now trying to piece together the events that led to his death Wednesday, but so far, police have released few details.

“We just want to know what happened. We want to know the truth,” Johnson said.

She called the police over speculation that her son had a gun and was “abusing” him before the investigation was completed.

On Monday, police confirmed that no weapon was found following the incident. “A search of the area was completed and no weapon was found,” police said.

“He made a mistake. But at some point those who are sworn to protect and serve should not have the right to be judge, jury and executioner at the same time,” Johnson said.

What happened before the shooting

Loss prevention officers responded to the Nordstrom at the Tysons Corner Center mall in Fairfax County, Virginia at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday after a report of a man suspected of stealing designer sunglasses, police said.

Police Chief Kevin Davis said Wednesday night that two officers — one in uniform and the other in plain clothes — approached the suspect, who fled and a pursuit began.

Timothy Johnson ran through the garage and parking lot into a wooded area, “while officers were ordering him to the ground,” police said.

“While in the wooded area, two officers discharged their firearms, striking Johnson once in the chest,” police said. Johnson was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

It is unclear what prompted the officers to open fire.

“At some point during this pursuit, something occurred that is still under investigation that prompted the two Fairfax County police officers to draw their firearms,” ​​the chief said last week.

Melissa Johnson seeks more transparency.

“I thought it was so strange that you don’t want to name the officers. You don’t want to give details. You don’t want to admit you didn’t find a gun. But you’re starting to paint this picture to malign (Timothy’s) name,” he said.

The chief initially said Wednesday that he did not know whether Timothy Johnson had a gun. Five days later, police revealed that no weapon had been found.

“My son didn’t have a gun. No mall patrons were harmed. … He didn’t have a knife. He probably didn’t even have a cell phone,” Melissa Johnson said.

The chief said Johnson was “well known” to law enforcement in the area and had an extensive criminal history.

His mother said Johnson had a criminal record to her — but not in Fairfax County.

“He did prison, he did his time. But to even vilify his story, discredit the integrity of the investigation before it even started was just harmful to the family,” he said.

Timothy McCree Johnson had no prior cases in Fairfax County, according to online court records.

In Maryland, he had many charges, mostly traffic citations over the years.

In 2003, he was charged with second-degree assault and theft over $500, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven to 10 years in prison, according to online records. In 2015, he was given a 90-day suspended sentence and three years of probation after pleading guilty to theft under $100, according to online records.

In federal district court in D.C. in 2006, he was convicted of a weapons felony — possession of an unregistered firearm and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, online records show. In that case, he was sentenced to 4.6 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Where the research is

The officers involved in last week’s shooting have not been identified, but were described as seven- and eight-year veterans assigned to the Tysons Urban Task Force. Department policy states that their names will be released within 10 days of the incident.

They have been placed on restricted duty pending an investigation.

A criminal investigation into the use of force is carried out by the Major Crime Bureau. An administrative investigation is also being conducted by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and there is also an independent review by the Office of the Independent Police Auditor, which reviews police investigations involving use of force and complaints against the Fairfax County Police Department.

Body camera footage of the incident will be released within 30 days, according to department guidelines.

A father tries to ‘find his feet’

“Timothy was my first child, my only son,” Johnson said. “This was a person who was loved, who was a father, who was a brother, who was a cousin.”

Timothy Johnson.
Timothy Johnson.Courtesy Melissa Johnson

He had a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter.

Johnson said her son was “trying to find his footing.”

“He had some demons, he had some things from the past. He’s been to prison before, he’s done his time,” she said. “I still feel that in society we just need to do better to support people. He needed to be in some kind of daily maintenance program or something that could give someone coming home from prison some support and accountability.”

She said her family has “suffered a lot of tragedy and loss” but is grounded in her faith in God and hopes the truth will come out.

“This is my only prayer that the unmedicated, unadulterated truth will come out and they will accept responsibility that the protocol was not followed, the procedure was not followed,” Johnson said. “Once someone is informed that something was stolen in that end result — does the end justify the means? It doesn’t.”

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