Family of Norfolk man killed by officer says police ‘responded too aggressively’

Posted at 6:53 PM, May 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-23 05:57:50-04

Norfolk, Va. - Benjamin Johnson, the brother of a Norfolk man who was killed by an officer, tells NewsChannel 3 he believes police responded too aggressively to a Norfolk bank Monday for a call about a stolen check.

"It just seems like somebody jumped the gun and things got out of control and my brother is gone because of it,” says Benjamin Johnson, Joshua Johnson's brother.

"There was no reason for them to just approach the scene the way they approached it. They didn't get a call saying somebody is trying to rob a bank," says Benjamin.

We questioned Norfolk police about their protocol in situations like this, but they tell us they can't discuss that since the investigation is ongoing.

They did provide a timeline of what happened.

Police say two officers responded to the Wells Fargo at 21st and Colonial where Joshua Johnson and his girlfriend, Virgie Hairston, tried to pass a stolen check in the drive-thru.

They say one officer pulled up in front of Johnson's gold Mercedes Benz, blocking him in.

That officer approached Johnson's car from the front with his gun drawn while another officer approached the car from behind.

At that time, police say, Johnson put his car in reverse hitting the officer behind him.

It's unclear whether Johnson saw that officer but his brother, Benjamin, seems to think he only saw the officer in front.

"If somebody is walking up to your car I see him startled, I see him being panicked not checking his surroundings because he's freaked out,” says Benjamin.

Police say after being hit, the officer fell forward on the trunk of the car while Joshua continued in reverse, going over two curbs, before finally hitting a lamp post.

Meanwhile, the officer in the front of the car fired several shots through the windshield killing Joshua.

But, Benjamin and his family believe it could have all been avoided if the situation were handled differently from the start.

"Think. What would you do if somebody just walked up to you with weapons drawn? We just want answers for what happened, that's all we want,” says Benjamin.

Norfolk police say the situation is still under investigation.


Norfolk Police identify man killed by officer at Wells Fargo

Update: Police officer kills man at Norfolk Wells Fargo; deceased suspect identified