A Loudoun County jury on Tuesday found 41-year-old Douglas Johnson, Jr. of Sterling guilty of two counts of attempted capital murder for shooting two Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Christmas Eve 2017.
Johnson was also convicted of nine other felonies, including malicious wounding of the officers and multiple firearms charges related to the offenses, according to the commonwealth's attorney's office.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy McMullen presented the case on behalf of the commonwealth. At the end of the seven-day trial, the jury fixed Johnson’s sentence at 74 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections.
“It is reprehensible that anyone would attempt to murder the very people that protect our community every day,” Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittman said in a prepared statement. “I applaud the bravery of our deputies and am pleased that the jury has held Johnson accountable for his actions.”
On the afternoon of Dec. 24, 2017, three deputies responded to a domestic violence call from Johnson’s 19-year-old daughter, who claimed Johnson had shoved her out of their Hollow Mountain Place home. After interviewing Johnson, his daughter and his ex-wife, the officers went inside the residence to arrest him.
Authorities say Johnson became angry and started yelling at his family upon being told he was under arrest, and the officers reportedly tried to deescalate the situation. Johnson then grabbed a loaded .45-caliber handgun from his bedroom closet, which he fired three times when approached by the officers, wounding deputies Timothy Iversen and Katherine Grimley.
Iversen and Grimley, along with a third deputy, Justin Nyce, were able to restrain and disarm Johnson. One deputy deployed a Taser to incapacitate Johnson.
Iversen and Grimley were transported to Reston Hospital Center and treated for multiple gunshot wounds. Both officers have returned to active duty.
“This was a violent situation where lives could have been lost,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman (R) said in a prepared statement. “I am proud of the actions and bravery of our deputies on that afternoon and every day, and I am grateful for the successful prosecution by the Loudoun commonwealth’s attorney’s office. This sends a clear message that anyone who commits an assault on law enforcement will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
During the trial, the commonwealth introduced testimony from the three officers present, attending trauma surgeons at Reston Hospital and experts in the fields of firearm and Taser operation. Also released were body-worn camera video and audio of the incident.
Johnson, testifying as part of the defense's case, claimed that he had been attempting to commit suicide and was not conscious of firing the gun due to having been stunned by a Taser and the officers’ physical attempts to restrain him.
Morgan countered that Johnson had said nothing of a suicide attempt in an interview with lead detective Michael A. Grimsley several hours after the incident. McMullen posited that Johnson’s shooting at the officers was due to his anger at being arrested and was done in an attempt to control the situation.
A final sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Loudoun County Circuit Court before Judge James P. Fisher, who presided over the trial.
Johnson remains in custody without bond.