Eyewitness account of fatal shooting of police officer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – An eyewitness to the fatal shooting of Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson says she saw him shot at close range as he was attempting to take Thomas Johnson III into custody.

Pierson, 32, was an eight-year veteran of the force. Police say he died shortly after being fatally shot in the pursuit of a parolee, who was released from prison only weeks ago.

Johnson is now facing murder charges. See the latest here.

After Pierson was shot, his partner, Officer Michael Dipaola returned fire and wounded Johnson. Johnson’s wounds were said to be non-life threatening.

A witness, who did not want to be identified, tells News 4 her 23-year-old nephew was walking his dog at the time all of this unfolded. As Johnson fell to the ground, his weapon discharged, and her nephew was shot in the leg. She says he will recover.

The incident happened right in front of her house. She says she saw officer Pierson in his car chasing the suspect and screaming for him to stop. She says the suspect “seemed like he slowed down on purpose, like he was waiting for the officer.” When Pierson pulled up, she said the suspect “almost ran right into the cop car.”

She says “when the officer grabbed him, he just turned around and shot him, and he fell and hit the ground.”

At that point, she says the gun went off again, sending a bullet into her nephew’s leg. She said her nephew quickly got everyone into the house, including his 2-year-old daughter and wife, who were nearby. She says, at first, he didn’t realize he had been shot.

“After we set the baby down, he touched his leg and said oh my God, I was shot.”

After the initial shots were fired, she says Pierson’s partner “kept yelling at the suspect, ‘Drop it! Drop the gun and stop!’ And he just wouldn’t, and then the officer shot him.”

She says she is angry and frustrated by what she witnessed. She said of the shooting of Officer Pierson, “What kind of person do you have to be to take another’s life?”

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