Man charged in fatal shooting of Charleston officer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man has been officially charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a Charleston police officer.

News outlets report that Joshua Phillips, 38, had a court hearing Saturday after he was charged in the death of Officer Cassie Johnson. Phillips appeared before a judge by video because Phillips is hospitalized after he was wounded in the confrontation with Johnson.

Johnson, 28, died on Dec. 3, two days after being shot while responding to a parking lot complaint. A resident had said that Phillips, of Charleston, parked his sport utility vehicle on her property, a police complaint said.

Johnson ordered Phillips to place his hands behind his back but he turned toward Johnson in an aggressive manner, police said. During a struggle, Phillips threw Johnson’s handcuffs into the street and took out a handgun hidden in his waistband, police said.

Phillips shot Johnson in the base of her neck, and the officer then shot Phillips twice, police said.

Johnson joined the city as a humane officer in October 2017 and was sworn in as a patrol officer in January 2019.

Phillips’ lawyer did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the case Saturday.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.