LONGVIEW — The decision by SWAT officers to fire at a Longview man who pointed a shotgun at them in September “was a clear, lawful use of force,” Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen said Wednesday.
The two SWAT/Longview police officers, Jordan Sanders and Chris Angel, fatally shot 51-year-old Christopher Johnson on Sept. 8 after Johnson reportedly pointed a shotgun at them, the Daily News reported. The shooting ended a roughly two-hour encounter between Johnson, who was reportedly suicidal, and local law enforcement.
Angel has been with the Longview Police Department for 18 years, and Sanders has been with the agency eight years. Neither was wounded during the confrontation.
Johnson made multiple statements during the encounter about whether officers would shoot him, Jurvakainen said. At 9:47 p.m. while at the open front window of the house, Johnson lifted the shotgun up and aimed it toward the SWAT officers, Jurvakainen said.
Sanders fired four shots, of which two struck Johnson and two lodged in a vehicle. Angel fired once, striking Johnson.
Johnson had no criminal history. He lived with his wife and two teenage daughters and suffered from chronic back and arm pain. His family has declined public comment.