Suspect accused of shooting 2 officers in Poplar Bluff makes court appearance

Suspect accused of shooting 2 officers in Poplar Bluff makes court appearance
An officer has been shot in Poplar Bluff MO(Source: KFVS)
An officer has been shot in Poplar Bluff MO(Source: KFVS)
Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley with James Johnson. (Source: Poplar Bluff PD)
Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley with James Johnson. (Source: Poplar Bluff PD)
Officials were on the scene of the shooting (Source: KFVS)
Officials were on the scene of the shooting (Source: KFVS)
The area was taped off to the public (Source: KFVS)
The area was taped off to the public (Source: KFVS)

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The man accused of shooting two officers in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on July 19 was in court on Monday, July 23.

According to the prosecutor's office, James Odell Johnson, Jr. was read his charges in court. Johnson faces charges of assault first degree or attempt/serious physical injury or special victim, armed criminal action and resisting/interfering with arrest for a felony.  His bond was set at $1 million.

According to Butler County Circuit Court Criminal Division, Johnson pleaded not guilty.

His preliminary hearing is set for August 20 at 1 p.m. in Butler Co. in front of Judge Bloodworth. Katie Law was appointed public defender.

There was no bond hearing, his bond remains the same.

What started as a warrant arrest turned into a shooting where two officers were injured on Thursday, July 19 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

According to police, officers of the Poplar Bluff Police Department and US Marshals Service responded to an apartment located at 624 Kinzer Street in Poplar Bluff, in an attempt to arrest 28-year-old James Odell Johnson Jr. of Poplar Bluff.

After they knocked on the door, officers were contacted by a woman who was removed from the apartment. Officers confirmed the suspect was present, then entered the apartment.

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As they went inside, Johnson opened fire. Multiple rounds were fired and Poplar Bluff Police Detective Corey Mitchell was wounded by a handgun.

His wound was non-life threatening according to police. Mitchell was transported to an area hospital for treatment. Additionally, Task Force Officer with the US Marshals Service was struck in his body armor. No additional injuries were reported.

After the initial shooting, Johnson barricaded himself in a bedroom of the apartment. Police said they established a perimeter outside of the residence and began negotiating with Johnson to surrender.

After a short standoff, Johnson surrendered and was taken into federal custody without further incident, police said. He was taken to the Poplar Bluff Police Department to be interviewed.

Police were able to get Johnson's girlfriend who inside the apartment out safely before the suspect barricaded himself inside the bedroom.

When Police Chief Danny Whiteley got to the apartment, Johnson's mother was 50 feet away talking to him on her cell phone.

Chief Whiteley asked for the phone and was able to convince Johnson to stand down.

"He was worried about his safety, worried about his girlfriend's safety," said Whiteley. "Of course I am communicating and I'm worried about officer safety and civilian safety. Just kept talking to him in a positive manner. There will be nobody hurt. We've always had a working relationship and a mutual respect for each other's word. We just need to de-escalate this, try to get everybody out safe and go on from there."

"I didn't know that there had been five other officers shot in Missouri this week," Whiteley added. "It's just an unbelievable time in our society. Years ago I thought it would never happen. You hear something happening in L.A. or Chicago or St. Louis. Not in southeast Missouri. It's a serious time in law enforcement's lives."

Whiteley says both injured officers are expected to make a full recovery and return to work soon.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been requested to conduct an investigation into the incident. The Poplar Bluff Police Department, the US Marshals Service, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Sikeston Department of Public Safety and Butler County Sheriff's Department responded to the incident.

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