The two police officers injured by gunfire at a Louisville protest against the lack of murder charges in the Breonna Taylor case Wednesday night were recovering Thursday as officials identified the suspect accused of shooting them.
Larynzo Johnson, 26, was taken into custody at 8:40 p.m., according to an arrest citation listing two charges of first-degree assault on a police officer and multiple counts of first-degree wanton endangerment — the same charge passed down on former LMPD officer Brett Hankison for Taylor’s death.
Johnson is accused of firing “multiple bullets at officers” who were conducting crowd control at Broadway and Brook St. in downtown Louisville at around 8:30 p.m., the citation states.
“The listed subject was seen by witnesses firing a handgun at officers and running from the scene,” the arrest paperwork obtained by the Daily News says. “When the listed subject was detained, he was found in possession of a handgun. Video of the shooting has been recovered and shows the listed subject shooting at officers.”
LMPD Maj. Aubrey Gregory was struck in the hip and was later treated and released from the hospital, LMPD interim Chief Robert Schroeder said at a Thursday morning press conference.
Officer Robinson Desroches was shot in the abdomen and underwent surgery, police said.
“He is in stable condition and expected to recover,” Schroeder said. “We are extremely fortunate these two officers will recover.”
Louisville police arrested 127 people during the overnight protests.
The civil unrest followed after a grand jury decided not to indict any officers in the March 13 shooting death of EMT Taylor inside her Louisville apartment.
The grand jury returned only three charges of wanton endangerment against former LMPD officer Brett Hankison for shooting blindly into Taylor’s apartment and causing bullets to enter a neighboring apartment inhabited by a white family.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office presented the case to the grand jury, said Wednesday that his investigation found that the other two officers at the scene – Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove – were “justified in their use of force.”
Taylor, a Black EMT, emergency room technician and aspiring nurse, was home with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when the cops used a battering ram to break through the couple’s door shortly after midnight while serving a no-knock warrant in a narcotics investigation involving a man Taylor previously knew.
Cameron said Wednesday that Mattingly was “the first and only officer to enter the residence,” and that he allegedly saw the couple standing together at the “end of the hall,” with Walker “holding a gun, arms extended in a shooting stance,” Cameron said.
Walker, a licensed gun owner, never heard the police announce themselves and believed he and Taylor were the victims of a home invasion, lawyers for Taylor’s family said.
He fired a warning shot with his 9-millimeter firearm, striking Mattingly in the thigh.
“Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker said in his clearly confused 911 call.
Mattingly then fired six shots, Cameron said, while Cosgrove fired his weapon 16 times “almost simultaneously” from the doorway.
Authorities believe Cosgrove fired the fatal shot, Cameron said.
“It’s heartbreaking, and it’s outrageous,” civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents Taylor’s family, told the Daily News. “It’s quite clear under the self-defense laws in Kentucky that it’s never justifiable to shoot or kill an innocent bystander who doesn’t have a weapon and is not threatening you in any manner.”
He said Walker, meanwhile, had a right to defend his home.
“I believe Kenneth Walker was absolutely within his right to defend his castle, have his Second Amendment rights because they always believed that these were intruders. You heard from the present tense on the 911 call. You could tell what his mentality is.”
Crump said the family’s legal team identified 12 neighbors who said they never heard the police announce themselves.
“The one person who said he heard the police changed his story,” Crump told The News. “This is who Daniel Cameron is trying to use to exonerate these officers for killing Breonna Taylor.”
Another lawyer representing Taylor’s family called the charging decision “a gross miscarriage of justice.”
“Seems pretty clear that the attorney general had his mind made up to present the case to a grand jury in a manner that would portray the officers as victims,” lawyer Sam Aguiar said in an email to The News.
“For him to say his own office concluded that the officers were justified is essentially saying, ‘There’s no way we were going to ever prosecute these officers for what they did to Breonna Taylor,’” he said.
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